Why Veterans Should Consider The Restaurant Industry

IG: raulfelix275

Now that you’re released from the overbearing clutches of Uncles Sam’s war machine, you’re completely free to conquer the world with nothing to hold you back. Well, there is one thing: money. It’s not like you were a baller in the service. Unfortunately, jumping out of airplanes and killing people isn’t highly sought after skill set in the job market. While there are a host of different job options, very few give a veteran the flexibility and ability to improve themselves as the restaurant industry does.

It Will Renormalize Your Human Interaction

Even though your Dysfunctional Veteran shirt states otherwise, you’re going to have to learn to interact with other people in a socially acceptable manner. That filthy mouth you’ve acquired while serving in the military has got to be tamed. Being forced to interact with customers who are spending their hard earned money in order to have a pleasant dining experience will help you curb those speaking patterns. It will also get you honed at another essential social skill set: pretending to like people.

Your work shift is steadily approaching. You’re mentally preparing yourself. Taking in the tranquility and ambiance of your apartment filled with emo rock. You take a toke, knock out a few push ups, then switch the music over to some gangster rap to get motivated. You head into the shower to freshen up and make yourself presentable. You never know what you’re going to be running into when you walk through those doors.

While most customers are great and enjoyable to be around, it’s the 5% of them that will grind you down. The inquisitorial customers who bombard you with reasonable and unreasonable questions about the food items. “Sorry, ma’am, I’m not sure if the eggs are locally sourced or if the vinegar contains sulphites”. The drinker who reaches his limits and begins showing disrespect to the establishment. “Sir, be nice or leave.” The nit-picky snob who makes it known she is a Yelper and who thinks having the TV on while it happens to be playing Rambo ruins the atmosphere. “Sorry ma’am, the boss insists on having it on.”

These little interactions will help you learn how to navigate gray areas between the customer always being right and the customer being a space cadet.

You Get Exposed To A New Culture While Making Money

If you’re a few years out of the service, you can go back to your old company or platoon and see one or two familiar faces, tops. Like the military, the restaurant industry is a big shuffle of humanity, where only a few grizzled lifers stick around for long. It’s a job field that caters to people who are in the building stages of their lives or fixing up their fucked one. You’ll encounter a swath of students, immigrants, corporate America refugee’s, lost-twenties-somethings, artists, and unique characters from all walks of life.

Not everyone will be your best friend and shouldn’t be, but you’ll find the one or two people who you can connect with. On one of my bartending jobs, I became good friends with a young cook. After I did my beginning of shift prep work and made sure the bar was stocked, I would head over to the kitchen to see if he could get away for a few minutes. We’d then go into his car and smoked a bowl as we talked to each other about our lives. I tried to convince him to join the Army, he couldn’t because he didn’t have papers. Whenever there was a lull in the work, we’d sneak out to smoke another bowl.

While it’s not the most prestigious career path, it’s not exactly a dead-end career. I’ve met staff members of all ranks who raised entire families and paid for their kids educations on their restaurant work wages. Each having their own style and flair as they flowed seamlessly through the floor taking orders, delivering drinks and food, and picking up dishware with utmost efficiency. Some were masters of the up-sell and had the ability to steer the customer to finer food items in order to increase their tip bottom line.

Since staff members are joining and leaving all the time, you’re not the new guy for too long. In fact, you’ll be able to prove your worth to the team in a quick manner if you’re on top of your game and are willing to be a sponge for knowledge and tips of the trade. You’re only as good as the last customer you served. Each new table an opportunity to correct any deficiencies you had the previous time, even if it was only you who noticed. Slowly, building your competence to move around and get tasks done at the restaurant with military precision and skill.

You Can Rebalance Your Chi

You’re at the cutting station in the kitchen. You’re preparing a huge batch of limes for the bar’s upcoming shift. Slice the lime in half lengthwise, make a horizontal cut through the belly, and then slice each of the halves into four wedges.

Repeat a few dozen times.

Get lost in your thoughts. Think about what’s going on in your life right now. What problems you have to tackle. What is under your control and what is out of it. Are you moving ahead in life at a steady pace? Is that chick you’re currently texting going to blossom into something real?

The beer coolers are half empty. A good variety of beer is held in each. You analyze the contents and make an mental estimation of how many boxes you’ll need. You walk to the fridge and pick up a couple of 24 packs and carry them to the cooler. Utilizing the bar key, with a swift and violent motion, you pierce through top of the cardboard and drag it to open the flaps. With three bottles in each hand, you pull out the beers and neatly place them on top of each other in the cooler.

Repeat a couple dozen times.

Get lost in your thoughts. Think about your past. The events that lead you to the place you are in today. The places you traveled and experiences you’ve had. The people you encountered along the way. The women: the ones you forgot about, the ones you almost loved, and the ones who left a mark on your heart.

The glassware has piled up in the bar sink. You’ve developed your own system for keeping the glassware in a steady rotation. You stand over the sink in an athletic position. You grasp a glass in each hand, emptying out the dregs of it into the waste bin. Fiercely scrubbing its insides with the brushes, then dunking them into the sanitized water to rinse out the soap suds. Each distinct piece organized so it can be transported to its designated place. Neatness and order radiates out of a properly prepped bar.

Focus on what’s ahead. Confidence settles within because you’ve done all that is needed to have a successful night, where hordes of thirsty clientele will pine for you attention in order to quench their need for booze. You’re in control. You’re ready. You’re able to handle whatever comes through those doors. You’ve got this.

You Get Thrown Into The Fray Of Controlled Chaos

You walk into work. It’s a complete shit show. It’s Friday night and the popular local band is having their end of the school year bash. It’s a pandemonium of customers wrestling with one another to catch the attention of a bartender. The bar staff is losing.

The beer bottles are running low, two of the kegs have just popped. You hear one of the bartenders curse. Make that three kegs. The glassware has piled up so high on the sink that they’ve begun to use the bar counter-top as overflow. There are only a few scoops of ice left in the ice machine. The three other bartenders are losing their patience with the customers and one another as they each fight for access to the lone cash register and key in the tabs.

You analyze the situation and make a plan of action. You run down to the basement, squeezing through the crowd. You change out the kegs, replenishing the stream of booze to the taps. You pick up two 24 packs and a bag of ice carry it up the stairs. In a firm, but respectful tone yelling out “Excuse me! Beer coming through! Excuse me! Beer coming through!” as a rift appears before you and you carry your burden to its destination. You quickly unload the beers and run down for more, prioritizing the beers which are lowest, until you’ve restocked it all.

A customer taps you on the shoulder trying to get your attention. He is not your focus right now. “Get one of the other bartenders, I’m barbacking!” You put your head down, avoiding eye contact with any other patron as you work through the stack of glassware. With sheer focus you grind it out, giving the bar the much needed ammo it needs in order to put it back on equal footing. You were the missing piece that was needed in order to give it a fighting chance. Now it’s time to get to the real work, you yell out “Who needs a drink!” and serve the first person who raises their hand.

The night is over. The last remnants of customers have left the establishment. The staff is cleaning up, counting the money, conducting a casual after action review of the night, and indulging in a victory drink.

“Whoa, that was a crazy night,” says one of the bartenders, “You saved our ass. Great job tonight, man.”

“Of course, I’m here for you,” you respond with a smirk.

~Raul Felix

Read: 4 Things That Are Awesome About Riding A Motorcycle
Read: Oh Well, We’re Off To War Again
Read: 12 Things Only Veterans Of The Global War On Terrorism Will Understand

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What Your Choice Of Military Branch Says About You!

SrA Jordyn Fetter

Deciding to join the military is one of the most demanding commitments a person can make next to getting married. Even marriage has the option of divorce if you and your spouse should grow disillusioned with one another. But, the She-Beast that is the military will smother you in her clutches long after the honeymoon period has ended.

When you’re shopping around, trying to figure out which branch will be pounding its green weenie into your ass for the next X years, keep in mind that just like an astrological sign can tell you everything you will ever need to know about a person, so does their choice of military service.

United States Army

SGT Steven Galimore

You really didn’t want to join the Navy like some homo and you may have a petty criminal past. Nothing too serious, but back on the block people didn’t call you Slicky Ricky for nothing. One night while lying in bed after banging your mediocre looking girlfriend you begin to contemplate the direction of your life. Realizing that it’s heading nowhere and fast, you say to yourself, “Fuck it! I’m joining the Marines!” After scoring barely above mentally retarded on your ASVAB and revealing your less than desirable past to a Marine recruiter, you’re promptly laughed out the office. Well, you’re in luck low-speed, high-drag; the Army recruiting station is right next door.

With the ability to draw from its vast hordes of manpower and capabilities, the Army is the all-powerful steam roller of the armed services. While the Marine Corps is looking for a few good men, the Army is content with a shit ton of OK ones. Outside of the Special Operations community, this leads to a relaxed attitude about what it takes to be a barrel-chested freedom fighter. If you’re able to show up at the right place, right time, and in the right uniform, you are half way to winning Soldier of the Year.

United States Marine Corps

CPL Aaron Patterson

There is no gentle way to say this Devil Dog, you drank the Semper Fi flavored Kool-Aid. At some point in your youthful years you were brainwashed by the USMC propaganda machine or your old man into believing that joining any other branch of the service makes you a big ol’ blubbering pussy. You were bamboozled into believing that utilizing subpar equipment, having lower chances at promotion, and working in an environment full of overzealous non-commissioned officers who are sticklers for the rules, equates to being a better tuned killing machine.

Fuck it, though. The misery of your existence is a point of pride for you. It makes you feel like you’ve earned the title of Marine. Something you will surely brag about whenever there is a few minute lull in conversation in any situation whatsoever. Everyone knows you’re the best, or else they’ll die like the rest. As substantial proof, you have those killer Class-A’s that get’s bitches panties drenched.

United States Navy

PO3 William McCann

You’re probably a homosexual. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Don’t ask, don’t tell was repealed by the Obama administration, so you can at last be out and proud with your flamboyant gay ol’ self. We always had our sneaking suspicions of what you did while at sea, sailor boy. No worries seaman, we all knew you were in the closet and working up the courage to come out to us. We’ve always loved and supported you, even if you do choose to live an alternative lifestyle. Hugs!

The Navy is the service for those who want to leave their shitty lives behind to see the world, but want to minimize their chances of dying in the process. While there are some jobs in the Navy that does its share of ground-pounding, the lion’s share of combat casualties in modern warfare are taken by the Army and Marine Corps. That makes it the optimal choice for a service member who wants all the perks and benefits of being in the armed services without having to do anything other than suck cock.

United States Air Force

SrA Nick Emerick

You know what’s pretty fucking sweet? Driving into work, while drinking a hot cup of joe, listening to some boom-boom-I-beat-my-wife country music as you pass a bunch of soldiers from the nearby Army base doing a 12-mile ruck march. Then you walk into your office, say, ‘Good morning’ to your superior using their first name, go on a brisk 2 mile run, and then go about your daily tasks.

See, for an Airman, military service is not about having a job that will impress people or requires physically taxing work. You don’t really care about proving how hard and tough you are. Your life back home didn’t suck too badly and you really didn’t want your life in the military to suck either. If you’re honest with yourself, you are kind of a nerd and freezing or sweating your dick off doesn’t seem too appealing to you. Now learning some technical skill that will give you good job prospects in the real world, that’s what drew you into the service. Plus, Air Force chicks tend to be the hottest from all of the branches and one may even become your girlfriend/wife. Until you find out she has been banging an Army Ranger in the Task Force she was attached to while deployed because she wanted a real man.

United States Coast Guard

PO3 Andrew Barresi

No one knows or cares about you. You are like that kid in high school who committed suicide and has a quarter page memorial in black and white in the back of the year book, but no one remembers who you are. Thanks for your service, I guess.

~Raul Felix

Read: 5 People You Will Meet In The Army
Read: 3 Things People Who Served In The Military Do That Make Them Look Like Tools
Read: Army Rangers Talk About The Times Their Words Have Shocked Civilians

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3 Hard Lessons About Life I Learned While Writing Online

Thought Catalog Featured Writers Page Mid-2014.

Thought Catalog Featured Writers Page Mid-2014.

Freedom of speech is a double-edged sword. By utilizing your First Amendment rights, you may run the risk of upsetting some overly sensitive people. Such people may even seek to strike back at you, hoping to bully you into conforming. Such is the nature of writing. Ever since I’ve embarked on the writing path, I’ve experienced a few hard lessons on how my real life can be affected by the crazy shit I write.

1. Never Tell Your Coworkers That You’re A Writer

In mid-2013, I was working as a bouncer at a restaurant/bar in Huntington Beach, CA. It was a corporate establishment that made the big bucks because of its prime location overlooking the beach, decent Mexican food, and practices of hiring masses of young, hot chicks with sexy bodies. I had the goal of becoming a bartender, but since I had no experience in the restaurant industry other than working at Taco Bell in high school, I saw being a bouncer as a stepping stone.

This was quite exciting for me since this would be the first time I ever got to work with an overabundance of attractive females. My previous means of employment—the Army and security contracting—had left much to be desired on that front. I had also read Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and Waiter Rant by Steve Dublanica which seared into my mind images of a work environment where people hustled and partied hard while having cool personalities, crazy life stories, and forging friendships.

I had also been writing my blog, RaulFelix.com, for a little over a year at that point. It included such wonderfully crass articles as “I’d Pee In Her Butt,” “Politically Incorrect and Loving It,” “The Pick-Up Follies: The Gimp,” and “Where Are My Whores?” Having been accustomed to the fucked up sense of humor my military and security contracting buddies possessed, I was naively unaware how my writing would tarnish my reputation at work as I gave my coworkers my business card to promote myself.

bc

While my male coworkers loved my writing, many of the female cohorts began to gossip among themselves. Sleazy-E, my best friend who also worked there, fed me intel that the girls were turning against me and complaining to the management about my misogynistic writing. They also thought I was creepy as fuck.

This realization came to fruition one night when I went to party there with my Ranger buddy, Dirty Dick. A lot of the waitresses were drinking and hanging amongst themselves. I tried to talk to them and introduce them to Dirty Dick, yet they were standoffish and barely acknowledged us.

“These chicks look like they fucking hate you,” Dirty Dick said.

“I think they do,” I smirked.

Over the next couple of weeks I went from having four or five shifts a week to being given just one. Knowing my days there were numbered, I got myself a new bouncer gig at a bar down the street. I was eventually laid off as part of the post-summer cutbacks, but I knew the truth. Later on, Sleazy-E (who was now training to be a manager) told me that one of the managers requested that I not return there again. It was just a bouncer job, so the loss was negligible. The lesson learned was priceless: Never tell any of my coworkers about my writing career.

2. Chicks Either Love Or Hate Me On Tinder

I was initially opposed to online dating because I felt that it favored women over men. Bitches got bombarded with messages and dick pics, while we dudes had to make ourselves interesting while resisting the urge to send a picture of our dick. Surprised by the success my knuckle-dragging buddies were having, I decided to give Tinder a shot. I soon realized how this medium favored two of my natural talents: the ability to write a short, witty, and hilarious profile and selecting pictures of myself that highlighted my best qualities and minimizing my goofier ones.

TinderRaul

I soon developed a standard operating procedure of just liking girls who weren’t ugly or fat. Rarely looking beyond their first or maybe second photo. Once they matched me back was when the real fun began. At times, after a thorough inspection of their profile I would realize that I accidentally swiped right to an ugly chick or a fatty, so I would correct the deficiency by simply unmatching them immediately. Then, using info gathered by her pictures and profile, I would initiate a conversation. About one in five girls would respond.

After some witty banter, chicks usually would ask, “Oh, you’re a writer? What do you write about?” That’s when I would copy and paste my five pre-selected pieces that show me at my best: my feelings on my military service, my ability to love tenderly, my Mexican-American family values, the lessons I’ve learned from womanizing, and my dominant, animalistic, lustful side.

Some chicks would say they’ll read it later but not really get around to it. These ones would usually fizzle out.

Some chicks would read one or two pieces, be slightly curious to know more about me, and meet for a drink because at least I wasn’t boring.

Some will really like what they read, then go to my site and randomly click around and commence to binge-read. Loving what they read, thinking it was insightful and raw, they tell me they’d love to get a drink.

Some will start impressed, then dig deeper and find some of my more risqué pieces. She would then morph into Feminazilla, laying waste to the Tokyo that is my writing. They’d spit scathing remarks about how men like me perpetuate the patriarchy and impose the Madonna/whore double standard. Then they’ll speculate on my broken relationship with my mother, insisting that I truly hate women and have enough psychological baggage to keep a seasoned psychiatrist engaged. It’s a shame that such a classically handsome man could spew such filth. Also, I must have a small dick. *Unmatch

It’s all for the best, really… let the chicks who don’t dig me filter themselves out, I don’t give a fuck. I’ve met some pretty great ones who do dig my style.

3. People May Recognize You In Real Life And Won’t Like You

“Are you Raul Felix?” a beautifully tattooed chick with purple hair asks.

“Yeah,” I say as I am cleaning glasses while working as a bar-back at a bar in Ithaca, New York.

“The writer?”

“Yeah.”

“You wrote that article about stinky pussies!”

“Yeah,” I laugh, “but did you bother to read the rest of it?”

“No, I just remember the stinky pussy part,” she replies.

I smirk and shake my head as I continue on about my duties.

“Can I take a picture with you?”

“Sure!” I give a shit-eating grin to the camera.

I receive a text message from the owner of the establishment, “DirtBagJim,” a few days later:

“Raul, I have received numerous complaints that you have written articles online that are offensive to women. Some customers and employees have shown concern. I can no longer offer you employment.”

Raul: “Huh…because I have treated every single employee I work with respectfully. Also, I’m am an experienced bouncer, bar-back, and bartender. I’m hard-working, have customer-service skills, and I have muscles—I’m a perfect bartender.”

DirtbagJim: “While I agree to that, we just have a huge LGBT community and we can’t risk someone like you working here. I’ll give you a reference if you wish.”

Raul: “I never promoted my writing nor did I hit on any of my coworkers, but I guess that’s the price you pay for being a man who tells it how it is.”

The main reason I call the owner DirtBagJim is because he was supposed to give me three bartending shifts per week. It was only to lure me away from my low-paying, yet educational, fun, and consistent bartending job at a vegan restaurant. Instead, he opted to give me two bar-back shifts in a one-month period under the guise of me learning his set-up, promising to give me bartending shifts when the students showed up. I’m a straightforward man who works for a living, so it really pisses me off when motherfuckers jerk me around.

After getting fired, I posted a status update on Facebook of what had occurred. I got a lot of encouragement from my friends, family, and fans. My boys at Article 15 Clothing were more than keen to launch a social media nuke on the establishment and tarnish their reputation for firing a combat veteran for exercising his First Amendment rights. While grateful, I decided it wasn’t worth dropping a $200,000 missile on a $100 tent. I opted to carpet-bomb my resume all over town. Two days later, I had a new bartending gig at a pizza restaurant in Collegetown with an awesome cast of coworkers.

I went back into that bar on a Saturday night a couple of weeks later since I know he is always there on busy nights overseeing things.

I walk up to DirtBagJim. “You still owe me for 10 hours’ worth of work.”

“It’s really busy, come back Tues—”

“—no, you’re unreliable. I want my money now,” I sternly say to him, crossing my arms.

He pulls out his phone and types out a text message.

I wait, staring him down. The bar staff looks at us nervously. Then a cute little thing in an elegant black dress with a sweet smile appears with a check for $50 and hands it to me.

I look at DirtBagJim and reach out for his hand and shake it.

“You have been honest for the first time in your life,” I say into his ear and walk out.

While trying to keep my business and artistic sides separate can be a hassle, it’s worth it. I’ve made connections with some great people. Have had dudes I went to combat with reach out to me and tell me they love what I write. I’ve had my real-life friends, family, and fans be my biggest supporters and help me out. I’ll keep at it cause I’m a scrappy motherfucker. Freedom of expression has a price; I’m willing to pay it.

~Raul Felix

Read: 3 Proactive Steps To Becoming A Writer
Read: A Few Maxims On Writing
Read: 3 Life Lessons An Old Man Called “Wild Bill” Taught Me

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4 Things That Happen When You Start To Mature As A Man

IG: raulfelix275

IG: raulfelix275

I, like any self-respecting man, have done a lot of stupid shit that I am not proud of but not really ashamed about, either. There are some things in life you can’t learn by just reading a book. Some things you have to experience firsthand in order for the lessons to drive themselves into your skull. Some men mature relatively early; others opt to stay a man-child for life. While every individual is on his or her own maturity timeline, when you reach a certain threshold of growth, you begin to see the world a bit differently.

You Begin To Reject Chicks You Would Have Fucked Before

Being a young man sucks in many aspects. You have little to no money, you haven’t accomplished shit, and you’re not fully developed physically or mentally. Girls have it easier during those years when it comes to getting laid because they’re in their prime in appearance and are usually banging guys who are older and way more interesting than you are. Or because they’re in a band or an all-star athlete. Regardless, they have dick buffet and they get their pickings. For young men, these bleak years, pussy dry spells are more like dust bowls. So when some random skank who may be missing a chromosome is all over you because she’s in dire need of a dicking, you dive in with reckless abandon.

As you’ve slowly grown over the years, experienced more, and hooked up with varying qualities and kinds of women, you’ve become more frugal with the amount of effort you’re willing to put into a particular type of chick. You begin to think of not only about wetting your dick, but the possible consequences. Not just STIs and babies, but of social, time, and emotional cost.

Some homely chick is giving you clear signals she’s eager to let you test her gag reflex, yet you’re way more into her friend. Since you’re no longer in a poon deficit, you’re in a better position to gently yet firmly turn her down in order to continue flirting with the cutie. Even without a third,party factor, you know you’re going to hate yourself later for messing around with her because she’s going to want to be around you post-coitus. That’s precious time you could be using to work out, play video games, read a book, stare off into the ceiling of your room as you contemplate life, start a multi-million dollar business, or jack off.

Yet the most important thing you learn is to respect your emotional health as a man. You’ve become weary of girls who are flakes, liars, complainers, negative, lazy, and who create drama for drama’s sake. When a girl tries to play emotional games with you, you don’t play their game; you simply cut them out of your life. Being emotionally crippled, broken, and unstable may create character depth and interesting plot points in movies and novels, but a girl like that can ruin your life in the real world. Many a good man has been destroyed by a she-serpent’s charms.

You grow to appreciate the girls who aren’t girls, but women. Who do what they say they’re going to do. Who tell you the truth, even when it hurts. Who go out of their way to make you feel worthwhile, instead of when it’s convenient. Who try to help you accomplish your goals without being a nagging bitch. Who compliment your manhood, not belittle it. Who respect your time and emotions. Who are trustworthy. Who make you happy to be man.

You Realize Who Your True Brothers Are

Women come and go. Your ex-girlfriend whom you told all the little tidbits of your life one day becomes a total stranger whom you avoid all means of contact with because she has blocked you on social media and changed her number. That one fling you spent a whole summer with begins to fade from your memory. If you’ve been a solid dude who has been loyal and maintained some semblance of contact with your male friends, you know when shit gets real, you’ll have someone who has your back.

Whether it’s going on a mission to kill or capture a high-value target, riding motorcycles side-by-side, playing video games, or getting thrashed and attempting to pick up chicks, male friendships are forged by doing activities together. Through many nights, months, and years of consistent shit talk, laughs, and tempers being pushed, you’ll develop a good idea of the character your best male friends possess. You’ll learn who the fake thugs and who the real gangsters are.

These are men who will attempt to keep you from getting into a fight with that douchebag of the pop-collar variety. If that fails, they’ll assist you in bringing the hammer down. Men who will give you some realistic perspective on your flaws when your delusions of grandeur have gotten the best of you. Men who will help you, within their means and ability, when the world has beat the living shit out of you. Men who will mentor and give you some solid advice when you’re crossing the same path they’ve crossed a few years back. Men whom you can call brothers.

You Learn To Accept You Character Flaws and Take Responsibility For Them

We all have character flaws that hinder or set us back. Maybe it’s a short temper, a severe drinking problem, overwhelming shyness, womanizing, gluttony, sloth, or arrogance. Owning your character flaws and attempting to fix them is what separates you from the typical boy.

The boy blames others for his shortcomings; the man figures out how to eliminate or mitigate them. The boy does the bare minimum in order to get by; the man does more than his share of the task, one hundred percent and then some. The boy believes that the world owes him something; the man knows he must earn everything. The boy avoids the consequences of his actions; the man accepts them, no matter how painful.

We aren’t robots, we’re people. Each of us has our dark secrets and insecurities. Our moments of selfishness that hurt those we love. Those times where we let our outlandish emotions get the best of us. Where our vices caused us to make a mockery out of ourselves. Where our hubris and cockiness caused us to push beyond on our true competence and we were schooled by reality as a result. Where we stood by quietly when we should have spoken up. Where we lied or omitted details in order to get what we wanted.

Your flaws and mistakes and how you interpret them will mold you into a man, whether it’s the kind of man young boys look up to or one who will serve as an example of how not to be. The small actions you take each day in your effort to harness and control your flaws will determine which you shall become.

You Start To Realize How Not To Be An Idiot With Your Money

Being broke fucking sucks. Anybody who has been in that position for more than a moment knows it’s detrimental to the soul. Maybe you’re not so broke to the point where you’re out on the street sucking dicks for a tuna sandwich. But you’ve been in a position where you’re barely scraping by. Where after your rent is paid, driving further than ten miles becomes an economic decision. It could mean the difference between eating one meal or two that day.

When you’re young and stupid with your cash, payday becomes a spending frenzy. All those promises you made to yourself about setting aside ten percent or more go out the window. Because you’re fucking rich, bitch! #YOLO, carpe diem, and fuck the police! You go out on the town and treat yourself to a good, hearty dinner with a few fruity cocktails because you don’t give a fuck if they’re chick drinks. Then, fuck it, you’re out and about anyways; time to hit up the bars and chug some shots and beers. You then see some cute chick and want to impress her and show her how much of a baller you are. Even though your game is weak as shit, you convince yourself that buying her a Merlot from some vineyard whose name you can’t pronounce is a surefire way to pound that puss.

The next morning you wake up alone fully dehydrated and still wearing your piss-dampened jeans. You check your bank account and see a bunch of pending transactions that total $147. Fuck it, it was just one night though, no biggie. You’ll be a good boy with the rest of the money in your account. Oh yeah, your car payment is due, minus another $280. Toss in another couple of nights of drunken shenanigans with your buddies, minus $170. Oh yeah, you must pay your cell-phone bill because you definitely can’t miss out on texting them fine bitches, $47. Two credit-card payments from those cards you have maxed out, $100. Random little toys and trinkets you absolutely need, $150. Don’t forget that little trip to the strip where the woman of your dreams seductively tells you her life story while taking off her clothes. Damn it, you’re broke again. Payday is still seven days away. Looks like you’re eating Ramen noodles and Spam again.

Give or take a dozen years into adulthood, you begin to realize how stupid this cycle truly is. It’s great to treat yourself and buy those experiences to help you grow as a person, but it’s also great not to have to be constantly vigilant about the money in your account lest you get an overdraft fee. While being a penny-pincher makes you a mundane waste of existence, blowing all your money unscrupulously isn’t going to get you ahead in life, either. You learn both the skills needed to increase your earning potential and the discipline not to spend it all on snorting cocaine from an escort’s ass. You set aside cash for the hard times because the boom-bust cycle that is life comes hard and fast…an expensive car repair, a lost job, a medical emergency, or worse, getting some chick pregnant and thus ruining all your hopes and dreams. You have to hedge a bit for those unforeseen circumstances, or being broke ceases to become a cycle and instead a lifestyle—one that makes it really hard (not impossible) to reach your full potential as a man.

~Raul Felix

Read: 3 Life Lessons An Old Man Called “Wild Bill” Taught Me
Read: How To Find The Greatness Within You
Read: 29 Things I Learned By Age 29

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Ego Is The Enemy: An Interview With Ryan Holiday

IG: ryanholiday

IG: ryanholiday

Ryan Holiday hit the real world hard and fast. At 19, he decided to drop out of college because he was offered an opportunity any ambitious would-be writer would pounce on: a job as a research assistant to Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power. This would lead him to working with and advising several bestselling authors and multiplatinum musicians.

He kept the ball rolling from there and became the marketing director of American Apparel, where he put into place a very successful campaign that produced both big profits and heavy criticism. But he grew disgusted with the state of online media and released a book that put his name on the map, Trust Me, I’m Lying. The book detailed how easy it was to manipulate online media because of its lack of source verification and its traffic-driven outrage-porn business model.

After reading that book, I discovered and devoured all of his writings. I studied and applied a lot of his stoic principles about business, life, and writing into my own thought process and actions. He is one of the most unique, practical, and highly respected contemporary thinkers.

In his new book, Ego Is The Enemy, he seeks to advise the reader through the lives of notable and not-so-notable historical and current figures about what havoc an untamed ego can have on a person’s life and how one goes about controlling it.

Raul Felix: Ryan, in this book, you analyze how the ego can have destructive effects on people. You even mentioned seeing one of your mentors transform from someone you aspired to be like to never wanting to be like that person. Egos don’t only exist in people of high achievement or celebrity; it is also quite common in the general population. What common examples do you see today of people with high egos yet little substance to back it up?

Ryan Holiday: Yes, exactly. It is precisely because we see this type of behavior in a lot of prominent public figures that we try to reverse-engineer their success and manufacture the right pose. There are plenty of “wantrepreneurs” out there acting like mini-Steve Jobs and plenty of musicians who think that behaving like Kanye West is acceptable. We falsely assume that ego—manifested in their entitlement, arrogance, braggadocio, and swagger—is what drove success. In fact, it was the talent that compensated for the ridiculous, destructive ego. We don’t think about the survivorship bias that hides from view all the people who’ve failed and flamed out because of their own ego-driven sabotage. What is also hidden is the huge subset of successful people who are not clamoring for the limelight.

We also live in a culture that actively promotes constant self-promotion and grandiosity—all of it magnified by a thousand by social media. It is also hard not to think you’re the greatest if that is the message you’ve been hearing constantly from your parents since you were born. Combine these factors, and you see why we have a downright epidemic of ego.

Part of why I initially wanted to write this book is because I would get a lot of emails from really overconfident and brash young people who would send me all these ridiculous emails. And then at large, you see it for instance with people who are not willing to take entry-level positions—But I went to college! But it was the Ivy League! —or people who are not willing to listen or take any sort of feedback because they think they’ve already figured it all out. You see it with people bragging and boasting about what they’re going to do—their ego craving for validation and applause before the fact.

Raul Felix: A line that really stuck out to me was, “If you start believing in your own greatness it is the death of your creativity.” I’m sure any artist who has produced a piece or two of topnotch work has fallen into that trap—even gloating to themselves or others about their creative genius. I’ve done it a few times when I wrote some really good stuff. How does one avoid falling prey to that part of the ego while keeping the fortitude to drive on?

Ryan Holiday: I love that line, too; it’s actually from Marina Abramović, the performance artist. There is another quote from UFC champion Frank Shamrock that I try to think of on a regular basis: “False ideas about yourself destroy you.”

The second you start gloating and letting success get to your head—that you’ve figured it all out—that’s precisely when you make some critical mistake or miscalculation. In that moment of self-satisfaction, learning grinds to a halt. What I love about writing, actually, is that those feelings are constantly elusive. You can’t get a big head with a craft which requires decades and decades of work before you even begin to approach mastery. There is no “graduation.” If you think like a craftsman, become an eternal student, and adopt a beginner’s mindset, ego is suppressed and you can go on working and working.

The problem is when you start to listen to other people. My last book has started to sell very well, so I could let that puff me up. I’ve gotten some very kind and generous reviews. It would be a mistake to listen to those things too closely. For the next book, you have to continue to approach it with humility and self-awareness. Essentially you have to start from zero.

And in the book I talk about how ego separates us from reality—we start living in our heads. This sort of intoxication with positive feedback and success makes us forget that there are people in our field who are infinitely more successful than we are. Someone recently mentioned that one of the best things about attending TED is how humbling it is to be in a room with all these people. It doesn’t take away what you’ve accomplished, but it puts things into perspective—it grounds you back to reality.

Raul Felix: You also mention the incubation process, that period where you must trudge through a long period of obscurity as you wrestle with a topic or a paradox. What would the incubation process look like for the normal person, who can’t really drop everything and live in a cabin cut away from society as they hone their skills?

Ryan Holiday: I’ve mentioned the incubation process, which is what the strategist John Boyd called his ‘draw-down’ period. It is the time after we’ve had what we think is a brilliant idea and then take the time to process it and think it through before we embark on it.

I do not think it requires you to drop everything and go live in a cabin away from society—I certainly didn’t do that (although living on a ranch helps!). It’s simply the moment after you’ve had the idea, after you’ve put the first round of thinking into the project and then have to step back and say: “OK, what do I really have here?” “Do I actually have something?” “What is this really going to be?”

Otherwise, we have ego telling us that we have the best idea ever and blinds us to all the components that we need to work on. Ego Is the Enemy ended up being different from the initial book proposals precisely because there was time between conception and execution.

And wrestling with a topic or a paradox requires you to invest a serious amount of time in a state of what the author Cal Newport calls “deep work”—that place of intense concentration and cognitive focus where real progress is made. Two examples for me are walking and running, during which I wrestle with ideas. I also have an article on this site on how to accomplish more deep work in our lives where I give some other examples that can be helpful.

Raul Felix: You made an a sharp distinction of how the ego affected two Civil War generals: Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman. Grant sought the high office of the presidency and chased after big money, causing him to have one of the most corrupt administrations in our nation’s history and going publicly bankrupt, while Sherman chose to be content and lead a private life afterwards. How can a person distinguish if what they’re chasing after is genuine or if it’s their ego yearning for more?

Ryan Holiday: It’s funny because I really admire both of them. This country we live in would not be possible without the personal heroism and bravery of both of them—probably Grant most of all. At the same time, I find the end of his life to be very sad. I wish he could have enjoyed the success he had.

In my view, the main reason doing that is so hard is because we try to have it. We want what we want and what other people have, too. We want to do our own thing but not be left out, either. We want a quiet life but also want to be the center of attention.

It’s our ego telling us to always say yes to more things, more projects, events, meetings. It will also always say yes to more money if given the opportunity. (Ego doesn’t care whether that’s the right decision for us.) Ego rejects trade-offs. It wants it all. It’s incredible how hard it is for us to say no to anything—again, especially money.

The solution? Really ask yourself: Why do I do what I do? What is important to me? What is the one goal or thing I want more than any other? That’s the question you need to answer. Stare at it until you can. It’s not easy by any stretch, and I am telling you that from my personal experience. I’ve had to do so in my own life and it’s why I have an entire chapter dedicated to that idea. Understand what’s important to you and know your priorities.

The goal is to make decisions with clarity and purpose—not ego. Only after spending time alone and asking ourselves these tough questions can we know which way we are swaying.

Raul Felix: Hitting rock bottom, whatever that may be for a person, is one of those humbling experiences that can make or break you depending on how your ego responds to it. I’ve been through a couple of hard times in my life where I needed to fight for every bit of progress while I got back on my feet. Along the way I learned some lessons. Yet I remember being warned that my actions would lead to that. What do you feel it is about our nature that makes it so we don’t always learn from others but have to fuck up big time in order to drive consequences of our actions through our skull?

Ryan Holiday: Nobody gets very far or lives very long without getting their ass kicked a few times. It’s not pleasant at the time when in retrospect we tend to appreciate those experiences—because we learned so much from them. The problem is that those lessons tend to fade over time, because we start to feel like we’ve moved past them—that we’ve got it. When I got Ego Is the Enemy tattooed on my forearm it is exactly this part of human nature that I wanted to warn myself against on a daily basis. It is this part of us that says that we know better, that makes us unwilling to listen to others, to remember to be objective and clear-headed and honest. I have made those mistakes myself, and having a daily reminder is one way to prevent it from happening again.

And it will always be the case that the hardest lessons are learned from direct experience. Plutarch says that we don’t “so much gain the knowledge of things by the words, as words by the experience [we have] of things.” That shouldn’t be an excuse to not study and learn to prevent those from occurring. Reading books—especially biographies—becomes helpful here. Whatever situation you are currently facing, others have gone through that and written about it.

There’s a quote from Bismarck that says, in effect, any fool can learn from experience. The trick is to learn from other people’s experience. It is why the book is full of cautionary tales—so that we see what ego-driven choices and decisions others made in history and how that led to their downfall. Still, though, I understand that we’re often going to need to experience some of that directly. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is.

~Raul Felix

Read: Teaching Men How To Mate: An Interview With Tucker Max
Read: Keep Moving, Young Man
Read: An Army Ranger Interviews A Navy SEAL On Resilience

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11 Veterans On How To Succeed After The Military

SPC William Lockwood, 55th Combat Camera

SPC William Lockwood, 55th Combat Camera

The military life has its own protective bubble in a way. You have a steady paycheck, health insurance, and a host of career trajectory options. Retention Non-Commissioned Officers will attempt to scare you into reenlisting by warning you about how hard it is in the real world and the dire condition of the economy. The feeling of finally gaining your freedom back as a civilian can be overwhelming and full of contradictory emotions ranging from full-fledged glee to utter dread when you realize you have no idea what you want to do with your life now that you’ve hung up your uniform for good. Most of the career advice you find never quite feels suited to your unique skill set and experiences. In an effort to pass down some hard-earned knowledge, the following 11 veterans will give you a bit of advice on how to succeed in your post-military career ambitions.

1. Raul Felix, U.S. Army 2005-2009, Writer & Poet

“Realize that most people will not understand that dark sense of humor you may have developed. Be consciously aware of whom you’re talking to and whether or not they can handle a fucked-up joke that may come out of your mouth. Test the waters a bit first; don’t go full-on dead-baby joke after only talking to a person for five minutes.”

2. Jack Murphy, U.S. Army 2002-2010, Editor at SOFREP

“The most important thing I realized when I left the high-octane world of Army Special Operations for the private sector is that you have to learn to be both a soldier and a manager at the same time. That is to say, you no longer have a Team Leader or Squad Leader looking over your shoulder telling you it is time to rest, time to eat, time to go to sleep. That soldier work ethic is critical and gives you an edge over civilians, but you also have to keep in mind that life is a marathon, not a sprint. Besides, you’re not a 19-year old Ranger now. It’s OK to take a vacation, read a book, or play some video games at the end of the day. Otherwise you end up working yourself to death.”

3. VaNiesha Honani, U.S. Navy 1998-2005, Certification Manager

“Job Interviews outside of DOD / Government jobs like Tech Startups: 90% of my interviews outside of DOD and governmental jobs have assumed that because I was in the military—it’s ‘robot do.’ We are only used to instructions and stringent structure with little initiative or innovation. I started cutting them off at the head with a good anecdote (they love hearing the “Once in band camp…’ stories.) that shows how we had to use some innovation in a stressful time. Second thing I point out is we are very adaptable. I’ve won every time by pointing out, ‘Being in the military – I’ve learned you can’t have a 3rd eye and be sensitive about it, adapt and take it with a grain of salt.’ In Tech Startups – you tend to be around some finicky but talented people – not being high maintenance and self sufficient is a dream employee.”

4. Leo Jenkins, U.S. Army 2003-2007, Author of On Assimilation & Lest We Forget

“Leaving shouldn’t mean severing ties. I get it; I wanted nothing to do with the rank and file of the military when I got out. Sadly that meant isolating myself. Guess what, you just served in the most cohesive fraternity in the world. You know the one thing fraternities are actually good for? Networking. You’ve just spent X number of years establishing relationships with people from all over the country. Those people are your best bet at making it in the world. You’re gonna need a job now and I guarantee one your military buddies has a family member looking for an employee who know what responsibility looks like, who can show up on time, and get the job done right, regardless of the raging hang over caused by binge drinking until 4AM. Bottom line, stay in contact with your buddies.”

5. Tyler Gately, U.S. Army 2004-2009, Press Secretary, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

“Come to the realization that when you get out of the military you are starting over professionally. The truth is that your military skills will likely not transfer to a civilian career. Research careers you are interested in and read about how other people got there. Maximize your benefits and intern as much as you can. Internships are the easiest and quickest way to learn what your passion is and more importantly, what it is not.”

6. Brent Ebell, U.S. Army 2001-2007, Professional Cameraman

“Use your past as fuel. Remember all the pain, suffering, humiliation, freezing weather, blistering heat, spit flying in your face as someone screams the most degrading shit at you. Use all of it because people will inevitably doubt you. You will hear phrases like, ‘that’s impossible.’ ‘Can’t be done.’ Or ‘those are pipe dreams.’ All you have to do is look back at what you’ve already survived and overcome. Whenever someone doubts you, look him or her in the eyes and smile, but just think to yourself, ‘Fuck you!’”

7. Glenn Ness, U.S. Army 2004-2015, Student

“Try to get up to college level before you get out so that you aren’t wasting the GI Bill on menial classes. If you know that you are shooting for a high-credit degree, try to pay out of pocket as long as you can before tapping into the GI Bill because a community college now is going to be cheaper than a university in 4 years. Also, stay away from predatory schools. Some for-profit universities design their programs to squeeze every bit of money out of your GI Bill.”

8. Nick Palmisciano, U.S. Army 1994-2003, CEO of Ranger Up

“You know how you look at guys who were high school athletes and all they do is relive those days forever because that’s as good as it ever was for them? Don’t be that guy with your military service. Just like high school athletics should be a stepping stone to greater successes, so should you think of your service. It made you stronger, taught you valuable life lessons, and helped you hone your character. So take that wisdom and find a new mission and get after it, knowing it may suck at first the way basic training did. Your life should always be leaning forward, never anchored to the past. When you lean forward, no matter how hard a year is, at the end of it, you’re a tougher, better, more skilled person than you were before. When you spend all your time looking back, the world keeps changing and you remain still, slowly becoming less useful with each passing moment.”

9. Shannon L. Adams, U.S. Air Force, IAVA Michigan Community Leader

“Find a mentor to help you with the transition that’s recently been there themselves. This can be achieved through your IAVA [Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America] network or a Veteran service organization. We all learned from others’ experiences while in the service, we accepted advice from our peers, our leadership and learned in professional environments (training) to overcome obstacles, to get promoted and to dust ourselves off when we stumbled. Don’t try and do it alone!”

10. Vincent “Rocco” Vargas, U.S. Army 2003-2007, Army Reserves 2007-Present, COO of Article 15 Clothing

“I have two things that really drive me. One is my family. I always imagine them watching me walk across some imaginary stage receiving an award of some sort and just seeing the proud look on their faces….It’s easy to justify giving up to yourself, but when you have to justify failure to your kids, or your father…that’s always more difficult. That thought has gotten me through some of my hardest days in training and in hardship.

I know the only way of making that thought a reality is to work hard toward a goal. Which brings me to my second driving factor….I like to give myself small goals or missions if you will. Once getting out of the military, I felt there was no real direction. I wanted to do something with myself, but unlike some achievements in the military, there is no prebuilt path. So I created these missions and strive every day to achieve them. Something as simple as being a more affectionate dad to something as difficult as getting back in shape. I continue to hold myself accountable for my self-improvement.

By the end of the year I should have, hopefully, become a better person, husband, and father by accomplishing these small missions. This has given me motivation to wake up the next day and keep grinding. Setting these smaller step goals and holding myself accountable to be the man I want to be for my family.”

11. Jarred Taylor, U.S. Air Force 2003-present, President of Article 15 Clothing

“There is no magical career path where you don’t have to put in hard work. Yes the circumstances and definition of ‘hard’ change outside the military, but don’t for one second think it gets easier once your out. Focus that ‘never quit’ and ‘don’t have the option to quit’ attitude when pursuing a civilian career and you will quickly see yourself rise above your peers. Because those that only know an environment where if they don’t like something they can just ‘quit’ don’t have the same drive a military person has.”

~Raul Felix

Read: 4 Things That Security Contractors Love To Spend Their Money On
Read: Army Rangers Talk About The Times Their Words Have Shocked Civilians
Read: 12 Things Only Veterans Of The Global War On Terrorism Will Understand

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29 Things I Learned By Age 29

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 12.30.22 PM

A couple of months ago I turned 29. Another year passed where I read a ton of books, had new adventures with different women, made new friends, traveled, wrote, and kept trying to be a better man. In celebration of another year of beating the Grim Reaper, I have put together a new list of lessons that made their way into my baboon mind. While I still don’t know jack shit about life, I’m probably qualified enough to give you my subjective opinion in list format.

1. It’s OK to have separate groups of friends for different aspects of your personality. Not all of your friends or acquaintances are going to click with one another.

2. If you’re a writer who is published online and you don’t make your entire living off your writing, keep that shit separate from your day job. Don’t ever tell anyone at your place of employment whom you don’t sincerely trust that you write. All it takes is one freedom-of-speech-hating coworker with a fragile ego to fuck you over.

3. The moment you think you have women all figured out, you don’t.

4. The right guy doesn’t always get the girl; sometimes it’s just the guy who happened to be at the right place at the right time.

5. It seems that no matter where I go to in the world, people feel trapped in their hometown.

6. Yet people always seem to have a sense of pride about where they grew up. Be mindful before you talk shit about it.

7. A cute chick’s #selfie that is pretty much the same as every other #selfie she took will get 100X more likes than whatever deep, intellectual shit you have to say.

8. A 19-year-old said to me upon hearing that I’ve been to New York City, “Don’t you think it’s the most amazing place ever?” I said, “No. Because I’ve actually been to other places around the world.” You can insert whatever city you wish into that statement. I’ve been to enough places to know that each city has its beauty, its unique quirks, its culture, its one-of-a-kind food, its slums, its overpriced tourist traps, and its hidden treasures. Quit trying to compare one iconic city to another. Just enjoy the city you’re in and explore as much of it as you can while you’re there.

9. “Normal” is subjective. From ages 18-22 I didn’t consider training and going to war to be anything special because everyone I interacted with on a daily basis did it. It was just what we did. Looking back on it, I think to myself, “Holy fuck, I used to do that shit?”

10. Everyone you meet in life has something to teach you. Listen to what they talk about and ask questions. Most people have one or two things they are passionate about, whether it’s sports, food, gambling, music, drugs, money, books, guns, cars, history, fitness, video games, motorcycles, sex, or writing. The list of possible knowledge is endless. Even the lowest, most worthless piece-of-shit human being you meet can teach you how not to act.

11. Hard work does not always equal success, but success is not possible without hard work.

12. Though I am not religious, I have a statue of the Virgin Mary in my room. As a Mexican-American, it’s a symbol of my culture. It gives the place where I live a true feeling of home. You must embrace whatever gives you comfort.

13. There is no glamour in being poor. You know who glamorizes the starving-artist lifestyle? Middle-class suburban kids who can count on a check from their parents when the bohemian life gets too tough. Then there are those of us who know that if we borrow money from our parents, they may not be able to pay their bills. Or some of us don’t have that safety net at all.

14. When you’re a writer, it creates an emotional imbalance with any person you are dating if they have read your work. They know more about you than you do about them at the beginning stages of courtship. It feeds into your ego that they know things that take the average person weeks, months, or even years to reveal, and yet they still like you. Yet you fail to realize that you’re the one who is more emotionally invested. You’ve shared your heart and soul to a person who may only have a passing curiosity in you.

15. Don’t let politics and religion get in the way of friendships. I have conservative friends who can’t believe I am friends with tree-hugging, fetus-killing, smug-ass libtards. I have liberal friends who can’t believe I am friends with gun-toting, women-rights-oppressing, Obama-hating conservatives. I simply don’t care how another person chooses to live their life if it doesn’t affect me. Part of being an open-minded person is accepting other cultures’ ways of doing things, even if it goes against your own belief system.

16. Treating someone with respect is the best way to start a relationship with them. Either that person will prove you right and will keep your respect or they will turn out to be a piece of shit and will lose it. Yet it’s better to respect someone who doesn’t deserve it than it is to disrespect someone who deserves your respect.

17. Time equals love. Judge a potential mate by their actions, not their words. If they’re not giving you any of their time, they don’t really care about you.

18. The mainstream media gives the populace outrage porn, and a majority of people are masturbating to it.

19. One of the best compliments a soldier can get from his comrades is “He’s a good dude.”

20. It’s human to feel jealous—of someone’s success, girlfriend, and good luck. You don’t have to let it negatively affect you. You can use the jealousy as fuel to make yourself chase after what you want.

21. People who constantly talk about how America is losing its values or how life was simpler and easier in those golden days have no understanding of history and view it through rose-colored glasses. The 1950s was an age of the nuclear family, wholesome American fun, and economic prosperity. There was also the Korean War, the impending fear of a nuclear destruction, and the Jim Crow South.

22. Find a place that makes you feel insignificant. One of my favorite things to do is swim at Cayuga Lake three or four times a week. Not only is it ridiculously beautiful, it also reminds me that whatever problems I have aren’t that significant or whatever I am working on isn’t that big of a deal. It humbles me. This body of water has been here way before I was and will be here way after I am gone. That’s some Zen shit right there.

23. Lots of people are cowards—emotional, physical, or moral. If you’re able to muster up the courage and show strength in these aspects, you’re doing way better than 90% of people.

24. Be honest with yourself about your weaknesses. Mine is women. I have an almost insatiable lust for them. Once I accepted this about myself, it made it easier for me to control my emotions and not fall and melt for whatever little cute thing who batted her big, brown eyes at me. I still fuck up on occasion, though.

25. It’s OK to not be accepted. Find the people who accept you. Thanks to my crude sense of humor and my machismo, I find it hard to connect to most people in general. Yet I found that by being myself, I was able to attract the kinds of people—both civilian and military types—who dig how I am and what I have to say.

26. There are two types of people in this world: those who do what they say they’re going to do and those who don’t.

27. If you have a dream, start small in whatever way you can. When I started as a writer, I knew no one in online media. It all seemed like this big exclusive club of people. They were obviously smarter than me. How the fuck was a nobody like me going to break in? I didn’t really know how to go about it, but I knew I had to produce quality work. I’m still not a big name, but I accomplished more in a couple of years than most. Now I have a plethora of contacts and learned that not everyone is as smart as I thought they were. Also, a lot of the writers I looked up to and thousands of people know my work.

28. Life does get better for men who spent time developing their minds and their bodies. While I haven’t found the love of my life yet, I have gone on dates and at times have hooked up with more women than I can remember—beautiful, smart, and ambitious women who three or four years ago wouldn’t even give me the time of day. The fact that’ve I read a ton of books, traveled, am self-sufficient, and have worked out consistently most of my life has put me above a lot of my peers.

29. Having an amazing mother is one the best things a man can have. While it’s “cool” to have mommy issues and not like your mom these days, I harbor none of those feelings. My mom gave me a good example of what a strong, hardworking, courageous, and caring woman is. As my uncle once told me: “You know who has the biggest balls I’ve ever met in my life? Your mom.”

~Raul Felix

Read: 28 Things I’ve Learned By 28
Read: 3 Life Lessons An Old Man Called “Wild Bill” Taught Me

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