Let us talk about male happiness.
Happiness is hard to define. That much is clear to everyone who has been asked “Are you happy?” (not that that is a common conversation either, to the detriment of many guys out there, but I am going off on a tangent here).
I want to define happiness for the purpose of this article:
It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man. Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin is onto something, yet he does not get the full picture. If working alone would make men happy, why would the suicide rate of men be almost double than that of women? The idea that working alone will make you happy belongs in centuries long gone, as you probably know by your own life experience.
Then, what is happiness really? I believe there are two basic components to it: Physical and mental. If your health is bad, you will have a hard time feeling happy – nagging discomfort will keep reminding you that something within your body is not alright. Same goes for the mental part of happiness: If you are in good shape, but you drag yourself to a shitty job every morning, you find it hard to be in a good mental place. You are more likely to think negatively towards your job, your employer, and your colleagues. If you are in that place right now, you might be able to relate to that.
Now we established what it means to be unhappy, and it sounds easy on the surface: Avoid bad health and a shitty job, and you are happy, right? Yes and no. Here comes the individual aspect of happiness: What makes men unhappy is mostly general, but what makes an individual man happy depends largely on him. Depending on your personality type, upbringing, surrounding culture, genetics and other factors what gives you happiness can range from producing wooden art, MMA-fighting, writing poetry, playing soccer, to developing your own business or giving public speeches. Individual happiness is indeed individual. That’s why, in my coaching, I am very cautious not to prescribe one-size-fits-all solutions to you but guide you to what can make you happy. And yes, there are things which contribute to a man’s happiness generally, such as having enough money, as well as sleeping with attractive women. Achieving those things are part of the Inner Warrior Circle, as much as avoiding common habits that contribute to your unhappiness.
I mapped out five general stages – which can be seen on the Inner Warrior Circle Homepage – that I believe are the best way to tackle your happiness. It resembles a pyramid and looks like this:
It is not a coincidence that it is similarly structured to Pavlov’s hierarchy of needs. I chose to adapt it to suit man’s path to individual happiness.
You need to be ok with your health before you tackle your job situation, and you need to be doing something in your work life that gives you satisfaction, before you think about having children. Not following this structure, as I believe, is the reason why so many men are unhappy in today’s world. I am sure you know guys in your environment who fell into this trap and are now bemoaning how “unfair the world is to them” (more on this unproductive mindset in a later article).
It does not have to be this way.