On Toughness

I’m a regular reader of Art of Manliness – both because they have a lot of great articles, but also because I desperately wish to be a man.

They just posted an article comparing being strong to being “tough” – neither of which I’ve ever been accused.

Teddy Roosevelt

One of the toughest men the country’s ever seen. And they named a stuffed bear after him?

I’ve always wanted to be tough. Well, strong, too – but especially tough. The grizzled old man that can land a great white (well, without the part about being eaten by said great white), the tough old bastard that has a treasured car (without the racism, of course), or even the Santa Clause whose calloused hands and ability to lift fat children on and off his knee hint at the difficulty of living in the arctic circle…

I’m not sure I’m ready to start running barefoot yet (or running at all) or even adopting half of this article’s practices; but it appeals to me. Teddy Roosevelt was taught by his father to “make his body,” and although I’ve only ever made my body into a gelatinous mess, recently I’ve been driven to make it something more. And if I’m going to work on my body, I have to first work on my mind.

I have *some* mental toughness – caring for a disabled spouse forces you to develop some cerebral callouses, and I can say I’ve kept my cool whilst being shot at and while dealing with rioters. I’ve also responded to a few medical emergencies, and although I know that my EMT skills aren’t perfect, I kept a cool head and handled the situations calmly.

But I lack willpower. I’m too prone to choose the easy way when I’m given a choice, and I certainly don’t look for chances to put myself through discomfort! I couldn’t hang with Teddy Roosevelt or Seth Bullock – I’d hate to consider what they might think of me.

But the desire is there.

If nothing else, I’ve got the cold shower thing down – but that’s mostly due to the thick layer of blubber and our fickel furnace.

Comment (1)

  1. Jump

    If you desire to remake yourself then remake yourself. People do it all the time and so can you. It’s not about being “tough” it’s about walking away from the desire to walk away. Saying no to oneself is one of the most difficult and rewarding things we can do. Nothing is easy in life.


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