Semper Virilis - by Brett McKay

Roosevelt and other men of his time ignored the hand-wringing and deliberately chose to live by the code of men even though it wasn't demanded of them. I think that's why I and so many modern men admire Teddy Roosevelt. He showed that it's possible to live in our modern world of luxury and comfort, but not be softened by it. He showed us that you could proactively choose to be good at being a man even when your surroundings or culture aren't conducive to exercising your innate masculinity. In short, TR showed us that it's possible to live in civilization but not be of it.

Overarching Principles of the Manhood Reserve

  • Find a Balance Among the Three P's
  • Emphasize the Concrete Over the Abstract

Training Program and Exercises (see Art of Manliness article for links)

Increase Your Testosterone

Build Your Physical Strength

Develop Your Physical Toughness

  • Get out of the gym and exercise outside in a variety of environments.
  • Increase your temperature tolerance by working out on a hot day or venturing out on a cold one scantily clad (always use wisdom in discerning your limits – you want to push yourself, not hurt yourself)
  • Take cold showers.
  • Increase your mobility and flexibility.
  • Thicken the skin of your feet by running barefoot.
  • Develop your endurance and ability to "ruck" over long distances.

Develop Your Mental/Emotional Toughness

  • Fast at least once a month for 24 hours.
  • Try writing with your non-dominant hand.
  • Close and put down a book when it's getting very exciting and you want to keep going.
  • Learn how to manage your day-to-day stress.
  • Familiarize yourself with the warrior color code and learn how to manage stress from more serious threats.
  • Know how to use tactical breathing to calm yourself.
  • Meditate daily.
  • Use biofeedback apps to boost your resiliency and take control of your physiological response to stress.
  • Do exercises to strengthen your willpower.
  • Do exercises to increase your attention span
  • Read a long book or article all the way through without stopping to surf around to other things.
  • Know your purpose and plan in life -- as Nietzsche put it, "If you know the why, you can live any how."
  • Understand the way your brain and body lie to you about how much push you actually have left when you think you can't physically or emotionally go on -- talk to yourself about this when you're tempted to give up.

Learn to Fight

Go Hunting

Seek Independence, Self-Reliance, and Autonomy

  • Become an autodidact.
  • Learn basic life skills.
  • Start a garden.
  • Start your own business or side hustle.
  • Do an Input Deprivation Week, and maintain your detachment from devices by taking a weekly Tech Sabbath.
  • Build a bug out bag.
  • Create an emergency food/water/essentials supply.
  • Learn survival and first aid skills.

Become Capable and Competent

  • Learn how to be more charismatic.
  • Learn how to command a room.
  • Learn how to make small talk.
  • Learn another language.
  • Learn how to tie knots.
  • Learn public speaking.
  • Learn how to persuade others.
  • Learn how to fire a gun.

Gain Mastery

  • I would suggest picking two areas in which to gain mastery: 1) a skill that's important to your professional life and 2) a tactical skill that's close to the core of masculinity of fighting and hunting – marksmanship, a martial art, etc.

Take Risks and Develop Courage

  • Ask a woman out face-to-face.
  • Start a business.
  • Learn to ride a motorcycle.
  • Stand up for your beliefs even in the face of ridicule.
  • Take part in sports that involve physical danger (fighting, rock climbing, surfing, snowboarding, etc.).
  • Give a public speech.
  • Take part in the manly art of haggling.
  • Do shit that scares you and conquer whatever particular fears your have.

Embrace Competition

  • Play a team sport.
  • Get together for pick-up games with your friends.
  • If you're a business owner, look for ways to get an edge on your rivals.

Complete a Rite of Passage

  • Climb a mountain.
  • Take a wilderness canoe trip.
  • Backpack a long-distance trail (like the Appalachian) end to end.
  • Join a fraternal organization that offers a rite of passage ritual like the Freemasons or Knights of Columbus.

Go on Adventures

  • Go on one big adventure (specially when you're young) and try to do it with a bud or buddies to replicate that primordial male gang.
  • Schedule regular adventures during the year. They don't have to be big. Just go somewhere new and explore without a set agenda.
  • Make your vacations more of an adventure. Don't be a tourist; be a flaneur.
  • Road trip across the country.
  • Take a spur of the moment weekend road trip into the wilds.
  • Get somewhere by hitchhiking.
  • Learn to scuba dive.
  • Take up caving.
  • Become an urban explorer.
  • Read adventure stories. Admittedly an abstraction, but one that can inspire you to get concrete.

Spend Time in Nature and Get Out into the Wild

  • Get out in the wilderness. The kind of wild that's raw and dangerous. No manicured state parks.
  • Go camping and backpacking regularly.
  • Take wilderness survival courses.
  • Take up sports that get you into nature – trail running, mountain biking, skiing, surfing, etc.
  • In between your trips to the wild, simply try to get into nature on a regular basis even if that means just taking a stroll in a local park.

Create More, Consume Less

  • Find a manly creative hobby.
  • Write a book, a blog, or simply in a journal.
  • Write letters.
  • Start a garden.
  • Host a party.
  • Have kids.
  • Start a club.
  • Start a business.
  • Do volunteer work.
  • Be a mentor.
  • Do kind things for strangers and friends.

The Importance of Our Social Ties

  • Make Family a Goal.

  • Be Part of an Honor Group. I strongly suggest you seek to wed the timeless code of manhood with the wisdom of the Stoics. Scratch that itch for male camaraderie by joining (or forming) an honor group with men who share your standards. Respect the judgment of men inside your platoon. But when it comes to men outside your circle, who are not your equals and do not share your standards, cultivate a studied indifference to their opinions.

  • Foster Genuine Community.