It’s been a while since I did a decent write-up for The Agoge, and I figure that we’re long overdue for a post in that section. In particular, I want to come back to a subject that I’ve addressed before – the importance and nature of resilience. As I have stated before (repeatedly), resilience is your key to victory.
Of course, it is all very well to say that. What does it actually mean? How do you practice it? As with all things, becoming resilient takes repeated application, and here I have to tell you that the process of becoming really strong – in the physical, mental, and moral senses of the term – is the most unpleasant imaginable.
Lifting heavy things and punching things alone will not make you resilient – they will make you tough, for sure, and strengthen you faster than almost anything else. But true resilience is a way of life, not merely a physical attribute.
Now, in the unlikely event that you happen to be a Shrillennial snowflake who somehow landed here by accident, looking for a feel-good dose of saccharine “advice” about how it’s all going to be all right if you just shake loose and buy some useless sack of shit from me – sorry, not sorry, this ain’t that kind of article.
This is about how you really cultivate resilience as a personal attribute.
A Telling Moment
Recently, I travelled to meet some old friends – including, as it happens, our good friend from Israel, The Male Brain. (The meeting of two of the greatest minds of this generation was, as you might expect LEGEN – wait for it… – DARY.) Some of those friends have known me for very nearly 20 years – I’ve seen their kids and grandkids grow up – and they have a pretty good idea of what I’ve been through on the professional and personal level for the past few seasons.
A telling moment occurred when I sat down with a cup of tea to chat, and one of them told me, “look, you’re a fighter, I knew you wouldn’t give up”. That was a very important moment for me, because it meant that whatever I’d been doing for the past few years to change myself internally, was working.
And what was that, exactly?
To answer this, we’ll need to go back a few years, to where the collapse in my life really started.
For those of you who haven’t read through it, I wrote a post back in April 2018 describing what happened. I won’t go over it again, except to note one point for those of you who have never been made redundant.
If you’ve never experienced this – and I DON’T recommend that you start now – then here is a brief run-through of what it’s like to be laid off.
You walk into the office in the morning. You know that things don’t look very good, for storm clouds have been gathering on the horizon for a while at your workplace. Senior management has been right up your division’s arse about costs and performance for some time. You sit down with your cup of coffee, flip your computer open, and start “working” – more likely, browsing last night’s tabloid stories to catch up on “the news” before you knuckle down to actual work.
Sometime between 10am and 12pm, you get a call from an unrecognised number on your desk phone – it’s some room within the building that you’ve never heard of before.
You pick it up, answer with the standard corporate greeting, and hear your boss on the other end of the line, asking you to come to such and such room. It happens to be outside your current area, past the closed doors, and possibly on a different floor.
If you have been through a layoff, at this point, you have some idea of what is coming. Your heart rate shoots up and a sense of terrible dread descends upon you, clouding your senses and fogging up your ability to think. You feel an awful sense of unreality, as if this is just a dream, and all you have to do is wake up so that everything will go back to normal.
But it won’t. There is no escaping this nightmare.
You will learn later that this is your brain’s attempt to protect you, because in fact you are SCARED WITLESS.
That is just a small taste of what going through a layoff is really like. I won’t even go into what you might feel as you sit through the process itself – just read what I wrote about it back in 2018.
Some of you will one day be on the other side of that big table, breaking someone else’s heart, shattering his or her dreams, and destroying that person’s life. I beg you, I beseech you, understand what it is you are doing. You may well be doing it for good reason – and you might well be next yourself – but understand that the act you have committed is nothing less than the cold-blooded MURDER of a human soul.
Don’t try to make light of it, and don’t try to trivialise what you’ve done. To do so would be an insult to the person whose life you’ve destroyed, and a dishonour to yourself.
How to Bounce Back
Imagine going through that process once. It is horribly destructive – and it will leave scars.
Now imagine going through it three times.
Imagine seeing every single hope and dream destroyed, every single attempt to dig yourself out of that hole simply piling more dirt on top of you. And imagine thinking that you’ve hit rock bottom, only to find that you’re still digging.
That was my life, and in some ways still is, for the past 3.5 years. Like I said, I DON’T recommend following my example, as a general rule.
So how do you recover from those kinds of setbacks, which seem insurmountable?
1. It’s Not Your Best Life NOW
The first thing you need to understand is that life isn’t going to hand you one damn thing for free.
Sorry, Snowflake. You aren’t here to get cash and prizes just for showing up. You are here to be tempted and led astray, and eventually to use your free will to find your way back to God.
Far too many people fall for the materialistic belief that you can have anything nice that you want, as long as you pray for it and will for it hard enough. That is heretical BULLSHIT.
Countless BILLIONS of people throughout history suffered through their entire lives, prayed and made sacrifices and did mighty works to get good things in life, died, and were never redeemed – they now spend eternity locked in Hell, in utter isolation and darkness, away from the life-giving grace of a loving and compassionate God.
If you think that this world “owes” you happiness of any kind, you are deluded. And if you think that you can earn your way to happiness simply by being nice and following the rules and doing good works, you might just be too stupid to live.
Here is the harsh truth: this world is catastrophically unfair. It hates decency, goodness, kindness, and charity. It elevates sin, blasphemy, and evil of all kinds. Your task is to find a way to navigate through this burning Hell, back to the grace of God.
And here’s how you do that.
2. Get UP
You see that image up there? That’s the Gypsy King, Tyson Fury, after getting floored by an incredibly powerful bomb of a punch from Deontay Wilder. That punch would have switched out the lights of any lesser man.
Tyson Fury is no ordinary man.
He has been to Hell and back, physically, mentally, and spiritually, and he is now the heavyweight champion of the world.
He got there by simply refusing to be intimidated. He just would not give up. And he took everything that his opponents could throw at him, and kept getting back up.
Fury, by the way, got back up and BEAT THE LIVING SHIT out of Wilder in their last fight – despite being knocked down twice and seemingly out of it in the 4th round. By the end of that fight, Wilder was the one whose lights got switched off.
3. Make Life Throw Another Punch
That short GIF comes from UFC 189, which featured an all-time classic fight between “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler and Rory Macdonald, a title match in the welterweight division. It occurred right after the end of the 4th round, after the two men had spent 20 minutes beating the stuffing out of each other. (Watch the full fight, it is simply incredible.) Each had thrown EVERYTHING, including the kitchen sink, at the other. They were utterly exhausted.
Lawler had a grotesquely cut lip. Macdonald had an even more horribly shattered nose. Lawler spat out blood all over the canvas, Macdonald had it pouring down his face. They had absolutely MAULED each other – at one point, it looked like Lawler would be put down by some epic hellbows from Macdonald.
Yet they fought on. And when the bell rang at the end of that AMAZING 4th round, they stood and stared each other down.
And in that chillingly intense moment, their body language speaks to one and the same sentiment:
What is it going to take to put this guy away?!?!
That is what you have to do with life – the toughest and most ruthless opponent of them all.
Life will hit you harder and faster and with more pain than you can possibly imagine. Life will take everything you have from you in an instant – don’t ever delude yourself into thinking it won’t happen.
You can respond to this in a variety of different ways. Most of them might fail to get you out of trouble in the moment. The one thing GUARANTEED to give you peace right here, right now, is surrender.
If you stay curled up in a little ball on the floor, oblivion will be your fate. The pain will stop, certainly, and you will know peace – but you will never again be able to accomplish anything useful. Your opponents have your number. They know what it takes to force you to give up.
On the other hand, forcing your opponents to throw one more punch, one more kick, is often a very effective strategy for making him wear himself out. So be that guy who forces life to throw one more haymaker – because that is one more punch that you can slip, one more kick that you can check, one more blow that you can dodge.
3. Outlast Them All
I used to train with a 2nd Dan black belt in Rhon Mizrachi Krav Maga. He was (and is) an exceptionally skilled amateur MMA fighter who was itching to turn pro. He told me something which I have never forgotten in the years since. This is basically what he said:
“It turns out that conditioning is often the key to winning, and I learned that when I started working on my conditioning. I learned that I could just outlast people in the cage, because I wouldn’t get tired, but they would.”
No matter how hard it gets, no matter how great the pain is, just keep forcing another blow. Keep showing up for the fight. Dig deep, dig hard, do whatever it takes, but show up the next day.
It won’t get easier, at least not at first. But over time, it will get better – because all you have to do is outlast the idiots trying to destroy you. We’ve seen this with the global Coof lockdowns – those of us who resisted and fought back, are now seeing how rapidly the power of the Benevolent Government Overlords is draining away. We outlasted them, and we’re going to keep outlasting them, until they are finally overthrown and destroyed.
4. Keep Moving FORWARD
Despite appearances, Didact is not the greatest philosopher of our age. It is in fact Rocky Balboa. In the film of the same name, here is what the man himself said about getting ahead in life:
“It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving FORWARD. How much you can take, and keep MOVIN’ FORWARD! That’s how WINNIN’ is done!”
That is Truth, in its most raw and visceral form. You will not find a better summation than that.
All of the self-help books, all of the therapy, all of the vapid reassurances, will do NOTHING for you. The ONLY thing that will make any difference is whether you have the will and the conviction and the outright BALLS to keep moving FORWARD.
Point yourself toward the Truth. Keep that direction foremost in your mind. Do not deviate from it. And dedicate your whole life to understanding it.
Then – MOVE. One foot, then the other, toward that Truth. Never stop. Never give up. And never, ever lose sight of your guiding light.
5. Find Your Sacred Purpose
I’ve discussed this before. It is the single most critical element of your spiritual and mental armour. If you know why you are here, then you are already far ahead of most your fellow men, who simply drift through life, aimless and alone.
You have been given a Great Commission – far greater and more important than anything that you are paid to do by someone else. It is up to you to figure out whether you want to do it or not. But if you accept the task that you have received, then understand that life will get a LOT harder, before it gets easier.
And yet… once you meet that challenge head-on, emboldened and strengthened by the knowledge that what you do is in service to something far greater than you, then you can meet that challenge with the serene conviction of one who knows your Purpose.
This is a gift, brother. Embrace it, revel in it, and understand its value. The reward for overcoming a test is to be met with an even harder test, and this is a Good Thing.
Conclusion – The Future Belongs to Those Who Show Up For It
Life is a battle, my friend, a horribly wearying and difficult one that will test you in every way possible. If you think that you can handle whatever it will throw at you, either you are very young, or very stupid, or very inexperienced, or a deeply unfortunate combination of all three. What defines you as a MAN, as opposed to a mere stripling boy, is whether you are willing to meet your opponents head-on in the field of battle.
Understand this, and understand it now: Conflict is the air which we breathe. It is the water which we drink. It is the ground on which we walk.
We were placed on this Earth to fight for the Truth, in the name of a loving and merciful God who wants to help us, but is restricted in His ability to do so by the very rules that He Himself put in place to safeguard His most precious gift to us – the priceless attribute of free will.
That freedom gives us the strength to stand back up when we get knocked down, point ourselves toward the Truth, and keep going.
Understand also that, like me, you may well find allies in the most unlikely of places if you embrace the conflict. I didn’t start my original blog back in 2013 to be popular – the concept is alien to me. Yet, it is through that blog and this site that I have found brothers along the way whom I would never have met otherwise.
And, for those young’uns who think more with the little head than the big one, I can tell you this:
My view of myself is that of an ornery loner who thoroughly dislikes people, and who intimidates and terrifies others. Yet of late I have been fighting off female attention with a stick, simply because people can see those core qualities of tenacity, strength, and leadership that all men should try to develop at some level.
I don’t claim to be any kind of physical, moral, or spiritual exemplar. Indeed, if you think I am one, I would seriously question your wisdom and judgement. I have often remarked that my Sacred Purpose appears to be to serve as a vivid lesson to other men as to what NOT to do with one’s life.
And if that is my Purpose, then I am content with it – because by embracing it, and by forging ahead, I have realised that tests which have broken others around me, have not fazed me in the slightest. They don’t scare me, because what I have been through is much worse. And others have noticed this.
You cannot buy that kind of strength from a course or a motivational video or a book. You don’t buy character – you earn it.
So stop complaining. Get up off the floor. Dust yourself off. Get back in the fight. Take one more punch, one more hit, whatever it takes. Move FORWARD, toward the Truth, and never stop.