You can see that I titled this conversation or this episode today; Return of the Patriarch. I know that that word gets a bad rap. I know people don’t… a lot of people anyways don’t like that word. They think it represents some sort of tyrannical symbol of masculine oppression in society. That’s not at all what a patriarch is. That’s not at all what the patriarchy is. If you think about what a patriarch is, a patriarch is a male leader. Simple as that, a male leader. Not a dictator, not a tyrant, not some sort of slave driver or anything like that. A patriarch is a male leader. Now guys, this is something that all of us… if you’re listening to this podcast, it’s likely that you want to improve your capability as a patriarch, a patriarch in the walls of your home and in your neighborhoods and maybe some ecclesiastical services or within the walls of your business.
You want to lead more effectively. That’s all it is. That’s all it means to be a patriarch. Now, I know that popular media and a lot of these leftists have taken the word patriarch and twisted it and skewed it and warped it and distorted it into something that it doesn’t really mean. But I think this is an attempt to undermine not only this misguided notion of the patriarch, but masculinity altogether. It’s really frustrating to watch and hear people try to redefine terms and ideals and lessons that have been learned through tens if not hundreds of thousands of years of human history that have proven to serve us well. Now, I will throw this disclaimer here. I’m not saying that our leadership as men, “the patriarchy” needs to be at odds with a woman’s ability to lead. In fact, my wife, for example, is a great leader in the home and with her friends and her other ventures and projects and hobbies and activities that she’s engaged in.
She leads differently than me because there also is the matriarch, right? The female leader of the home. We’re not at odds with each other. Now, sometimes the way that I lead will take precedent. Sometimes the way that she leads will take precedent and we’re aware of that. So guys, there’s nothing wrong with a patriarch and it’s not at odds. It’s not at odds with a successful home, a successful business, a successful community or society. In fact, I think it’s much of the driver of the success of these environments in which we live. So the question then becomes, how do we become a better patriarch, a more capable patriarch? That’s what I’m going to get into with you today. But I want to talk about why I think it’s a problem in the first place and why I think we’ve lost our sense of honor and dignity and pride in being a patriarch and being the kind of men that we are called to be, that we are frankly, biologically hardwired to be and the kind of men that we would take honor in being.
I look around and I see men… and I think I look at them a little differently because of the career path in this mission, in this movement. But I see men who are broken inside. I can see their eyes if even they make eye contact with me and I see a missing piece. I think that missing piece is masculine, assertive, bold, courageous leadership, patriarchy, and their ability to become the type of patriarch that they need to become, that they deep down inside want to become. Why do men struggle with this so much? Why is it that we continue to deviate down this path of a feminized, overly effeminate, soft, weak society? Three primary reasons. Now, I know anytime I give some sort of small list, like three reasons, that there’s inevitably going to be somebody who comes back and says, “Well, it’s not as simple as that.” I realize that. All right, I realize there are exceptions.
I realize that I can’t solve all of the world’s problems and I can’t explain how powerful masculinity is when men learn how to step into this in a 15 to 20-minute podcast. I get that. I understand that. But I will say this, that if we adhere to the principles that I’m going to share with you today, although all of our problems may not be solved because it’s a little bit more complex than what I’m going to share with you, it’s going to be better. We’re going to be moving in the right direction. We’re going to be taking the right courses of action that will improve our lives, improve our family’s lives, the people that we interact with on a daily basis and make everything better. But the reason that this has even become a battle and the reason that men, more men, and I think this will only get worse, have… I don’t know if rejected is the right word, but at least dismissed this idea of becoming the type of patriarch that deep down they want to become is because, first, they’re too afraid.
They’re too afraid to step up in the way they want to step up because they believe that they will be demonized or ostracized or doxed or whatever because they’re acting masculine. Because they’re acting that way, they think that society or whoever they happen to be dealing with will attack them verbally, maybe even physically in a lot of ways. These men are afraid to step into who they’re supposed to be. What a shame. What a shame that we’ve gotten to the point where men are afraid to be the type of men that would actually serve them well and serve other people well. That’s number one. Number two is they never learned how. They never learned how to be a patriarch. Probably because there wasn’t a patriarch in their home. They may have had a matriarch, they may have had nobody, but because they were missing a patriarch in the walls of their home as they were growing up and they were young, they never learned what it meant to be a man.
So they took this raw masculine energy that’s coursing through their veins biologically hardwired into who they are and they channeled it into destructive and often horrific and potentially even violent situations and outcomes, rather than learning from a genuine patriarch who knows how to take that masculine energy and channel it into something that’s going to be good, that’s going to be effective, that’s going to be productive for them and the rest of society. I know for me that there was a lot of time in my youth where I was angry. I could literally, looking back at it now, feel the testosterone pumping through my veins. I would get pissed off and fired up. I would fight and I would rebel because I didn’t know how to take that and use that energy constructively. Still potentially physically, potentially even violently, but do it in a way that was going to help and serve and produce rather than detract and take away and destroy.
There’s a great quote by Douglas Wilson. He says, “If boys don’t learn, men won’t know.” The reason that we see the demise of the patriarchy and patriarchs is that boys aren’t learning how to become the patriarch. I’ll tell you what, in my interactions with men, thousands and thousands of men over the past four, four and a half years now, I know that there’s a lot of you and potentially even a great number of you listening who realize this. You realize that you didn’t have a patriarch in your home. You realize you didn’t have a healthy male figure leading and guiding and directing and channeling that masculinity into something that was going to be good. Now you’re coming to the conclusion at 20, 25, 30, potentially even older that you never had that. Guys, don’t throw your hands up in the air.
Don’t throw your hands up in the air and say, “Well, because I never learned, I guess I’m just shit out of luck.”. No, you’re not. No, you’re not. I got a message the other day from an individual who said something to the effect of, he feels like he’s too old at this point to want to try new things and to really expand and grow and succeed in his life the way he wants to. He feels like he missed the boat. I simply said, “Consider the alternative.” The alternative is doing nothing and in 10 or 15 or 20 or 30 years saying the same exact thing, only being 30 years closer to your death. It’s never too late. You may behind the eight ball a little bit, but so what? What’s done is done. Now correct the behavior. Find a way to surround yourself with other men who are successful and productive in doing good things in their lives so you can learn.
You can learn what you should’ve learned 20 years ago but didn’t have the opportunity. Now that you’re a man and you’re an adult, it’s your obligation and frankly moral responsibility to begin to become more proficient and effective as a man if you never received it. That was point number two, is that these guys never learned. So learn now. Number three, and I kind of tied into this here a minute ago is that there’s a lot of guys who believe it’s a waste of time. This is the Meg towel movement to a degree. I think they’ve got some good things, but I think they’re leaning towards the wrong direction. I think they’re taking or at least taking a couple of steps in the wrong direction, the wrong route, the wrong path. These are also the incels, the… What do they call them? Involuntary celibates, right?
These are the guys that think that society is out to get them and that everything is stacked against them. Although there may be some of that, and I even talk about that, you’re not a victim. Why would any man position himself as the victim? So we have these movements that I just addressed where men start to take the path of victimhood. They become the victim of the victims if you will. Jack Donovan had talked with me about that when we had a conversation for the podcast. This must’ve been four or five months ago now. He said, “These guys become the victims of the victims.” All right? Don’t make yourself a victim. See, these guys believe it’s a waste of time to try to change, to try to improve. If they do, then they’re not being the kind of men they should or that they’re being subservient to women.
It’s not subservient to learn how to be a more effective father. It’s not subservient to women to learn how to be a more effective husband or how to advance in your career or how to get ahold of your finances or your health. It’s good. It’s the natural order of things. It’s the way things should be. These guys who are filling your brain with a bunch of shit about going your own way and all women are bitches. They’re the enemy and we need to escape this and go our own way and do our own thing. We’re the victims of this society. That’s a problem. That’s an unhealthy, immature response to the circumstances that we may find ourselves in. There’s a more effective way to do it. It’s learning how to be a patriarch, it’s learning how to lead effectively, it’s learning how to become that man. It is a learning thing.
You don’t get to become a man just because you’re a male. There’s a difference. Male is simply anatomy. It’s chromosomes. It’s DNA. It’s biology. But being a man has nothing to do with that. I mean, that’s a prerequisite, but being a man requires learning and growth and progress and expansion physically, mentally, emotionally, intellectually. That’s when you get to call yourself a man. That’s what I’m going to share with you today. An attempt to make this a little bit more memorable for you, we’re going to talk about the four Cs today. The four Cs which will allow you to either return into the patriarch that you’re meant to be or become the patriarch that you’re meant to be because maybe you haven’t learned yet. I’m on this path too, all right? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not here judging from this podium above every other man who might be listening to this. I’m in the trenches with you.
I’m learning these things just like you are. I might have some clarity on a few more things than maybe you do, maybe you’ve got some things figured out more than I do. But either way, we’re in this battle together. That’s why this is the Order of Man, not the order of Ryan, or not ryanmichler.com, or look how wonderful Ryan is. This is our movement. We’re in this thing together. So let’s talk about this.
Part of being a patriarch and part of being a great leader is that you are clear, clear about who you are as a man and where you want to go, where you want to take the family, where you want to guide and lead them, where you’d like to go in your career. You have to have a vision for the future, what you’d like your health to look like, how you want to be remembered, the kind of legacy that you want to leave behind long after you’re dead and gone. You need to be crystal clear about this.
Too many men are going from activity to activity to activity. They’re up to their eyeballs in the time-wasting ventures, whether it’s sitting around dinking on their phone or watching the latest season of who knows what, and just wasting an ordinate amounts of time doing nothing and sedating themselves from the reality that maybe they aren’t stepping into the men they’re capable of becoming. Stop wasting so much time and get clear about who you are and who you want to be. Because when you’re clear, and you’re faced with a choice that may be a distraction from who that individual can become, you know not to go down that path because there’s something bigger and greater and grander waiting for you to get your butt off the couch and turning off the TV and putting down the cell phone and getting to work as a coach of your children’s teams, as a lover to your wife, as a man who has high ambition and high drive and motivation to advance his career path and serve other people not only in his career but his community.
That takes a level of clarity that too many men don’t have. Because they’re not clear about who they are and who they want to become, they wander around aimlessly. They get pushed around and tossed to and fro with every little distraction and every little comment completely derails them. Guys, I want you to be laser-focused on who you want to be because when you are, you’re going to be that much more effective and you’re not going to be wasting the time that too many men seem to be doing. That’s number one.
Wanting to be great, wanting to be good, wanting to do the right things is not enough. We’ve all heard the adage, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. What you want to do doesn’t matter, what you actually do matters. So you can’t judge a man or yourself based on who you want to be.
Men are measured amongst each other, in society, and even yourself for your production, for what you actually produce. Great, you want to be a good father, but you’re not showing up for your kids, then what you want to be doesn’t matter. You show up. You want to be a great husband, but you can’t communicate and have a good conversation with your wife or love her and be physical and intimate the way that she wants to be, then it doesn’t really matter what you want to do. You’ve got to be that individual. You want to advance in your career path, but you’re not willing to invest the time and energy and money and resources that it takes to become successful. So what? You’ve got to go out and do that and get the credential and get the degree and put in extra work and go the extra mile so that you’re actually producing.
Through that that effort and through the action that you’re taking, you’re going to develop a level of competency so that when other people, whether it’s your kids or your wife or your kids on your football team or your colleagues or your coworkers look at you, they look to you as somebody who they think, “I need to follow that guy. I need to be led by him. There’s something about that individual that I see,” and they voluntarily choose to follow you. That makes you a patriarch. You can’t be a tyrant, you can’t be a dictator and be a patriarch. People have to be voluntarily led, meaning they have to choose to be led by you. If you develop the competency that you want in your life, people will follow you. They’re not going to follow you if you’re not competent about it. That’s point number two.
A lot of guys ask me what skill should they develop. Of course, there’s an endless list of tasks and skills that one could work on and improve their life. But I’ll tell you what, at the root of all of this is their ability to communicate. If you want to lead effectively, you have to lead who? Other people. Which means that you’re going to have to learn how to communicate effectively with those individuals. The best framework that I found for this is understanding that generally there are four communication styles.
There’s passive. We know these guys who are passive, they’re weenies, they’re wimps. When there’s any sort of pushback, they roll over on their backs and they let people steamroll them and they get nothing done. Of course, we don’t think highly of these men. Of course, we don’t follow these men. They’re not men of conviction. They’re not men of competency. There’s no fire in their soul. So we’re not going to follow those individuals.
Assertiveness… Excuse me. Passivity. Number two, aggressive. Now, we know this guy on the opposite end of the spectrum. He’s the asshole. He’s the red personality. He’s pushing everybody around and he’s bossing people around and he’s making people feel uncomfortable. Nobody else has a say. Any good it was because of him. Anything that goes wrong, he blames it and shifts it on somebody else. He’s the dick. He’s the guy that nobody wants to be around. You know what’s hard about this guy, is he might actually achieve some measurable level of success initially. It’s not longterm. I can’t tell you how many guys like this that I’ve seen that come into different endeavors, guns drawn, blazing into this thing and they just crash and burn because they don’t know how to communicate effectively with other people. They don’t know how to rally people around causes. They don’t know how to delegate and enlist other people in the movement that they want to go down on, that they want to improve. Guys, you need to learn to communicate.
The third is passive-aggressive. This one’s an interesting one. He pretends he’s the nice guy. He pretends that he’s nice. He wants to play nice, but deep down inside he’s got some animosity or ill will or resentment towards other individuals, especially those people who are successful. So he’ll joke around and he’ll make a mockery of little things and he’ll undermine and underplay other people’s accomplishments because rather than stepping up to the plate and doing it for himself, he wants to undermine everybody else. This guy might be the class clown and he’s funny for a minute, but it gets tiring very, very quickly because people finally catch on to who this joker is. He’s a fake. He’s a fraud. He’s a phony. You see, he wants to be a man, but he doesn’t know how to be a man. So he is a dick instead. But he wants to do it in a nice way because somebody told him that’s what he supposed to do.
He’s supposed to be the good little boy. This is the passive-aggressive communicator. It’s the guy with the sarcasm. It’s the guy that can’t take anything seriously. He undermines everything and anything serious that people want to do. The last form of communication guys is the assertive communicator. This guy’s not an asshole, but he’s not the nice guy. He’s not sarcastic. He knows when to joke and to laugh and to have fun and loosen up, but he also knows when to toe the line. He knows when it needs to be serious. He’s willing to stand by his convictions, not to be a jerk, but because he knows who he is. He’s got the clarity, he’s got the competency. Because he has those things to back him up, he can now communicate effectively, stand by what he says, and also leads with a level of empathy. Understanding that I can’t be railroading these people all the time.
Sometimes I need to push, sometimes I need to pull. Sometimes I need to get in there and be a little bit more assertive. Sometimes I need to back up. Sometimes I need to learn to delegate. This is somebody who understands it all. We know somebody who has not adopted this principle because they’ll say things like, “Well, it’s just the way that I am. Take it or leave it. I can’t change. Just me.” What a horrible, horrible way to live, that you’ve actually subscribed to the notion that you can’t change, that you can’t evolve and grow and expand and learn new skills and become a better human being. Of course, you can. The assertive communicator has learned how to do it and put it into practice.
Men of character. I remember when I was younger, I had a step-father who… I must’ve been… I don’t know. I must’ve been 13 years old, maybe 14. He asked if I’d go mow the lawn.
I said, of course, I’ll go mow the lawn because that was my chore on Saturday morning. He said, “Oh, also there’s a hole in the backyard. The dog must’ve dug it up or something. There’s a hole in the grass in the backyard. What I need you to do is I need you to go out and even further back,” because we had a big dirt field. “I need you to get a couple of scoops of dirt, shovel it, bring it over, fill in the hole, stamp it down. Then cut a piece of grass off the back in this section,” then he told me what section. He said, “Bring that over and then put that in and we’ll just patch and repair that piece of grass. That’s what I need you to do.” So I said, “Okay, I’ll do that.” So I mow the lawn. Then I go out into the back… and I didn’t want to shovel. I was tired. It was probably hot. I didn’t want to shovel the dirt. So I just went off and I cut a little piece of grass off and I threw it in there.
I just threw it in the hole, just a piece of grass. I went inside and I said, “Okay, I’m done with mowing the lawn.” He’s like, “Okay, you mow the lawn, did you feel the hole?” I said yes. He said, “Okay, let me go check.” So he went out and he checked. He says, “Hey, the lawns look good. You mowed them.” Then I knew when he started walking around the corner what his reaction and his response to this shotty job was. He walks around, he looks in there, he’s like, “Did you even put dirt in there?” I said, “No, I just threw that grass.” He says, “Okay.” He says, “What I want you to know, Ryan, is I want you to understand that character is what you do when no one is looking.” Character is what you do when no one is looking. It’s easy to be good. It’s easy to do the right thing. It’s easy to do what’s expected. It’s easy not to cheat when people are watching. It’s easy.
It’s not a test to do it when people are watching. But what you do and how you respond and how you behave and how you act when people aren’t looking or they won’t find out is what it means to have character. What kind of character do you have? Where are you cheating yourself? Are you cheating yourself in the gym? Are you putting up scores and PRs and times on your tracking progress that aren’t legitimate or true because you’re trying to impress other people. That’s a lack of character. You might think it’s isolated to the gym. But I can assure you, that if you lack character in the gym, you let character with your wife and you lack character with your kids and you lack character with your clients and your bosses and your colleagues and your friends and you’re shorting yourself. You’re probably lying to yourself. You’re probably lying to other people and although they may not catch you now or anytime soon, you’re doing yourself a disservice and you’re not being the patriarch that you can be if you don’t have character.
Now I know it sounds like I’m pointing fingers at you and telling you all the things that you should do and it almost might seem like I’m telling you I have this stuff figured out. I certainly don’t. I lack character and integrity at times. I do the wrong things when people are and aren’t looking. It’s something I’m striving to be better at. This is not a one and done type of thing. There is no arrival. Congratulations, you checked off the box that said patriarch and now you’re the eternal patriarch that you’re meant to be. No, this is a path. This is a work in progress. So don’t be down on yourself when you mess up. Just correct the behavior. Don’t compare yourself to other men and think, “Well, that guy has it all figured out. So what the hell is wrong with me?” No. It might just mean he’s further down the path. That’s it. There isn’t anything gifted about me or any of the amazing, successful, high achieving men that I’ve had on this podcast.
I have guys all the time that will reach out and say to me, “Ryan, I really wish you’d have regular average guests on the podcast so that I could relate with them more.” Guys, that’s the wrong attitude. What you’re doing is you’re essentially saying that that you’re placing other men on a mantle they don’t belong. Everybody’s average. Everybody at some point was mediocre. Everybody at some point was the low man on the totem pole. All right? They’ve been there. They’ve been through that process. There isn’t some magical success fairy running around sprinkling magic dust on just certain men. No, these guys were at the bottom. They figured out this stuff that I’m sharing with you and they utilized it and they implement it in their lives and now they’re successful. So use them not as a comparison, but as a beacon for hope and optimism of the type of man that you can become if you’re willing to do the work that those men did.
I can assure you that the men that you listen to on this podcast and the men that you hear and follow on Instagram and all these other social media channels, these men are doing this. These men are doing the things that I’m telling you right now. That’s why I’m inspired by them because I realize… I mean, I’ve talked with over 250 guys now and I realize that there are some common threads between every single one of them. It’s not only this list but certainly, this is part of the list. It’s clarity. These guys know what they want. They know who they are. They know who they have the potential to become. They’re competent. They’ve developed a skill, they’ve refined it and honed it and made themselves better over five, 10, 20, 30 years, a lifetime of effort and failure and struggle and setback and pushing forward and learning and lessons and humility.
They know how to communicate effectively because they know what they want and they have some competency. They know how to enlist other people. They know how to rally the troops if you will. These are guys who other people want to follow because they feel special or important or good about who they are when they’re following the patriarch. These are men of character. There’s not a big gap between the words they use and the things they believe about themselves and the action they’re taking to become the type of man that they envision themselves becoming. I’ve talked about it at length. That’s the integrity gap. The integrity gap is minimal if not non-existent with these very, very high achieving very successful men. It’s character. It’s doing the right things even if nobody’s looking. Guys, I know that I’m oversimplifying the process. I understand that.
I’m not so arrogant to believe that we can solve all of the problems that society and… I don’t even think it’s society, I think it’s mainstream media has with masculinity and patriarchy. I know I’m not going to solve that in a what? 30-minute podcast. But I think if we as men can step more fully into clarity, competence, communication, character; if we can overcome our fear of being ostracized or ridiculed for being “too masculine,” if we can learn the things that maybe our fathers failed to teach us, if we can take responsibility for that, not the fault, but the responsibility of that and learn now, and we can realize that becoming a better man is never a waste of time. It’s never a waste of time. It’s always going to improve you. It’s always going to improve your situation. You’re going to be better. Your family’s going to be better. Your community, your friends, your neighbors are going to be better through you working on yourself and returning to the patriarch that you’re meant to be.