“No man is free who is not master of himself”Epictetus
I can ask any man 4 questions and from his responses know just about everything I need to know about him. And they have nothing to do with that proverbial table everyone references and what he brings to it. More than anything it is important to know a man’s character, what he values, and if he embodies the essential qualities of the masculine essence. These are the four questions I ask either him or myself. Because just by watching a man and listening to him speak, I may be able to answer the questions myself without even asking him.
1. Do you fast?
2. How much can you deadlift?
3. What’s your favorite sport?
4. What book/podcast did you read/listen to last week?
Question 1: There’s a quote that says, “Hunger is the first element of self-discipline. If you can control what you eat and drink, you can control everything else.” Fasting breeds self-discipline, emotional regulation, and self-mastery. It is the fundamental principle of healing and medicine and the one tried and true way to be healthy, happy, and whole. A man who fasts is a man who is in control of his life. It demonstrates his commitment to his physical and spiritual health. Not to sidetrack the discussion, but I wrote an amazing FREE guide on Intermittent Fasting. You can grab your freebie HERE.
Question 2. Deadlifts are a functional, fundamental, and full-body exercise. Men in the gym who do a thousand bicep curls and shoulder shrugs are more concerned with the “look” of strength than actually being strong. A man who deadlifts show his commitment to building a strong foundation and core that is practical and traditional. It also shows his commitment to physical strength and takes pride in his physical ability to protect his woman and family.
Question 3. If his favorite sport is football, it shows he either consciously or subconsciously has an enslaved mentality as a Black man in America. I know that sounds harsh, but it is the truth. Football is a direct mirror and reflection of the barbaric racism against black men, after mass incarceration. That sport decimates black men in so many ways that will never be ok. To willingly be obsessed with that sport in the way so may men are shows a deep disconnect with his history, roots and himself.
Question 4. A man who not only has interests but seeks to increase his knowledge about them demonstrates his commitment to personal growth and development and a passion for a topic of interest.
A man with self-discipline, self-mastery, self-regulation, a physical, foundational strength, a liberated mentality as a Black man in America and with interests that he commits to gaining more knowledge about? Well, that’s a Top-tier man.
Notice, I didn’t ask him what he does for a living or how much money he makes because the man with those qualities will never be broke. He always has a plan A, B, and C. He is loyal, committed and protective. He thinks ahead. He doesn’t complain about “the man” because he is “THE MAN”. Finding out the answers to these questions is what made me fall deeply in love with the man I’m with today. We fast together, exercise together, watch and play basketball together and I love hearing about his deep interest in Black cowboys, true crime stories, carpentry, and sports history. I’m curious, what are the questions you would ask a man to know who he is?