"What's Your Idea of a Man?"

Have you ever heard someone say they are trying to find themselves? It’s a complex statement – to some degree, considering if you’re struggling to locate your own whereabouts, you’re unlikely to get asked to find ‘the needle in the proverbial haystack’ when they’re recruiting for that role.


I guess that’s the rub (on a more serious note) – intrinsic to becoming aware that something is fundamentally missing, is the realisation that all else is on hold until basic self-discovery is mastered.


I mean who wants to date someone who has no self-awareness, who wants to hang out with an ignorant motherfucker. And when you become aware that particular morning that it’s you that’s lost, it’s natural to put other issues on hold until as an individual you find a grounding to lay a foundation from which to erect an edifice that you can stand back from and be proud of. A life you can consider worth living, an existence that can withstand life’s gloomy moments by being able to look at whatever negative occurrence is trying to overwhelm you this month in the eye and be confident that this too will pass because beneath the storm is a still – steady self-awareness which anchors your soul.


The good news is the journey to self-discovery is easier than you think, it doesn’t require a trip up a Tibetan mountain to parlay with the monks or an excursion to the amazon rainforests to partake in an ayahuasca ceremony. Interviewing yourself and mining the answers to some key questions that could give you meaningful insight into ‘you’ can be the work of an afternoon. It’s worth booking an appointment for this one. Take a moment to do the reflective thinking, of the many things/responsibilities/people that vie for your attention it’s not too much to put aside a couple of hours to confront yourself in order to establish the nature of the raw material with which you’ll build the rest of your life.

So let’s demystify the process; the quality of the questions you ask will always determine the quality of the answers you’ll get. So let’s ask ourselves some questions we’ll call simply – ‘simple but profound’. Here are some suggestions:


  • What is my favourite – food, music/film/literary genre? And why?
  • How do I like to spend my time?
  • With what kind of people do I like to spend my time?
  • What is my favourite place?
  • What do I not like?
  • What do I want?


Let the answers to these questions begin to paint a picture for you. Write down your answers, in fact if you know how too, do a mind map, this may be even better. Allow the answers to these simple questions to distil something within you. Ask yourself; how true are you being to your true essence? What prevents you from spending your time, energy and resources on the things you value? How can you tip the scales so that your life becomes more of your own engineering? Occupying your time and energy immersed in that which makes life meaningful to you surely is the hallmark of a good life.


I’ll be honest it’s not necessarily common to think this way and as a result the level of dissatisfaction we tolerate is in fact intolerable. People are becoming increasingly aware that to live a life contrary to ones choosing is not only undesirable but also not necessary. There are options. It may require a shift in perspective. It’ll definitely require some personal investment of time, energy and resource. But is it worth it? Beyond a shadow of a doubt.

When we look at the statistics of male suicide and consider the other destructive behaviours we are renown for engaging in as men – drug abuse, alcoholism etc. and ask the question; how much of this is a symptom of lives lacking aim or purpose, or the ability to envision our dreams becoming our reality. Almost certainly the answer is that this is a huge factor. How much mental distress, anxiety and depression or worse have at their core a fundamental dissatisfaction with life and our supposed lot.


What if I was to tell you that you can change all that, that in fact by making a choice life can be lived on your terms and become a fulfilling, meaningful experience. You know what I am about to say just that. You hold the keys and within your hands is the power to achieve your dreams to realise your potential to fulfil the unique purpose for which you are uniquely occupying the place in time and space that you currently find yourself. Only you can give yourself permission to live your dreams, but you must decide to be your primary investor and your own greatest fan.


Some tools that may help in your journey to self-discovery could be to take a simple personality test. The answers give a structure of self-awareness on which to proceed. Real self-discovery and self-awareness is not a text book exercise, but doing the academic work can give you a framework to start the journey which opens up the doors of deeper insight and self-mastery. Another tool is a book I read called ‘Now Discover Your Strengths’; I love the concepts because the message behind the book is that society and family and the education system raise us to believe our weaknesses are deficiencies that we need to fix. ‘Now Discover Your Strengths’ argues that we should forget our weaknesses and focus our energy and time on perfecting what we are intrinsically good at. People use astrology and numerology and these can be interesting in the game of self-discovery. But ultimately; ask and answer some key questions, establish what you like, where you are going and whose going with you and the road to a fulfilling meaningful life will begin to stretch out before you. Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life.

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Hi I'm Omar Zac Phillips and I’m a writer. My Blog; theideaofaman.com is where I journal my experiences as a man and share The Idea of a Man Project, a 12 step process of self-discovery.

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