If you have ever been beaten down by life, rejected by a woman, fired, laid off, divorced, struck with a health problem, or some other challenge of life as a man - then you need to know THIS...
Some of you may have seen the film, Invictus, with Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, but like me, you may never have heard of the poem on which it is based before.
I met a man recently who had once been a firefighter decades ago. He was solid at what he did. He knew how far was too far and how far was not nearly enough in battling the elements.
The one thing he was not prepared for was what one does when he cannot save a brother-at-arms.
He was in the thick of a blaze, and his best friend was overcome by smoke. He had an axe in one hand and a child in the other arm when it happened.
His buddy collapsed, and he raced over fallen timbers and stone to get the child out of the building, turned around, and ran right back in at the inferno’s worst moments.
There, unconscious lay his friend. He was heavy, and pulling at the fallen man, he struggled to budge him inches at a time.
All the while he knew that the black smoke had filled his lungs for far longer than is recoverable.
But to make things worse, having gone on instinct alone, he had realized, in his words, that he had done the “most stupid thing I ever had done or ever would do – put my own life in jeopardy long after there was any chance to save my friend.”
You see, he had a young family, children, and a wife waiting on him.
“I didn’t know when to quit,” he said.
And upon reaching the light barely glimmering through a chunk of fallen wall, gave one last pull to heave his friend to the hands of emergency services just outside.
Happily, the friend lived.
But this man struggled for years with the knowledge of what he saw as his greatest blunder in life – risking his own, and the safety and future of his family.
“You have to make choices,” he said. “And I hadn’t. It was instinct alone, and that’s what bothered me. I quit the profession of firefighting the very next day. When you stop thinking and get dangerous, well, that’s the time to quit. I was lucky, sure, and thank God my friend is alive. But I don’t believe in luck. I believe in wisdom.”
He went on to tell me there was a poem that saw him through years of self-doubt: Invictus, by William Earnest Henley.
And what surprised me is that he had never seen the film by the same name, nor had he known that Nelson Mandela had found solace through his imprisonment, through the very same poem.
From Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invictus:
At the age of 12, Henley fell victim to tuberculosis of the bone. A few years later, the disease progressed to his foot, and physicians announced that the only way to save his life was to amputate directly below the knee. It was amputated when he was 25. In 1867, he successfully passed the Oxford local examination as a senior student. In 1875, he wrote the "Invictus" poem from a hospital bed. Despite his disability, he survived with one foot intact and led an active life until his death at the age of 53.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
There it is.
You, like the firefighter, may have done things in life that are impulsive in desperate times, or are in a position of "being between a rock and a hard place," the "Scylla and Charybdis" that we talk about in the Mature Masculine Power Program.
Your challenges and traumas I have called The Wasteland of life, those places where you feel most terribly alone and without guidance - the night that covers you, the black pit that swallows you and leaves you feeling you have no choices at all.
The "gods" you will find are the very "circuits" of the "Reptilian Brain" talked about by Evolutionary Psychologists, and the Masculine Power Instincts of this program are in fact what make you UNCONQUERABLE when you get acquainted with their specific skills. And this is the Latin meaning of the word, "Invictus."
Because of what we learn about boundaries in the MindOS Mastery Program.
What You Do and DON'T Control - Both Make You WIN
We learn that there are circumstances you do not control - many of them, far more than you DO control - and while they will bloody you, you can still remain unbowed when you have the Masculine Power Instincts at your disposal. It simply falls on you to learn them, protect them within your personal boundary, do not waste them, and use them with the wisdom and diplomacy that my firefighter friend sought for his own life.
That place you've suffered in - the job loss, the betrayal, the breakup, the loss and endings, and harm done to you that was not just, or fair - the place of wrath and tears... these speak to the cut down on your masculinity that the very training in the Mature Masculine Power Course mends (the rage you feel and wrath that grips you), and the tears - the sadness and anger of the emotions that also cut down your self-esteem, the very thing that the boundaries, Anger Map and Anxiety Map of the MindOS Mastery Program mends...
So that through it all, understanding your very makeup as a man - the psyche or "soul" that houses all of it - your self-esteem, your wise choices, the boundaries and with them, the recognition of the circumstances around you, the stresses and threats, and all you do not control, can still be dealt with as a man - the masculine instincts themselves underneath it all.
And in the end, whatever you believe about "the Fates" we discuss in the MMP, whatever is written on the "scroll" of your life, the unforeseen, you can always know you did your best as a man with whatever comes, unafraid, because you were the one at the steering wheel still unbowed and doing your best.
You will have mastered the very first skill of personal growth - Observing Ego that I discuss in the MindOS Mastery Program - that skill of being awake and aware, at the steering wheel of life, whether it is in good times or bad.
Enjoy this poem again and again, and be sure to enter the discussion on it at the Men's Psychology On Demand Membership.
This is part of what you will get in ongoing guidance at the LIVE TRAININGS ON MEETING WOMEN EFFECTIVELY.
Paul Dobransky, M.D. is a board-certified psychiatrist, public speaker and relationship expert who has treated more than 10,000 patients in 15+ years in clinical psychiatric care. Journalists and clients worldwide have sought Dr. Paul's advice on dating, relationships and all aspects of human psychology.
Dr. Paul pioneered MindOS, a new, patent-pending approach to understanding relationships, mood problems and stress. MindOS synthesizes all schools of therapy into a single, effective system-based approach that uses plain language to help people understand psychology and solve problems. Go to http://www.menspsychology.com/ to learn more.