I was sitting on my couch, listening to “Deep Inner Game” by David DeAngelo (Eben Pagan). Brilliant program. It is the kind of education every man should acquire before he is 21, as it is dealing mostly with the idea of identity, mature masculine boundaries and the dynamism between intuition and consciousness.
At some point, Eben mentioned a very interesting concept. He was talking about how most Israeli men who immigrate to the United States are very successful in business. He then mentions a friend of his and how he achieved massive success, business wise.
You may be asking yourself why.
All Israeli must go through military service as soon as they become adults. The Israeli military service is considered one of the toughest in the world because Israel is actually in a constant military conflict and faces extinction. This means that military conscription doesn’t mean shinning boots and doing PT while singing cadences. Most Israeli men (and women, as they are treated equally) will fight, see dead people, being fired upon. They participate in a real brutal conflict, not just play soldier as it happens in other parts of the world.
So let me ask you this – after you’ve been fired upon, bullets, grenades, you’ve seen friends die, you’ve killed people, you’ve gone through hell, do you think someone can intimidate you in a conference room? Do you think that the world of business seems dangerous anymore? There is nothing that can happen in an air conditioned office that even resembles the hell of war. This gives Israeli men an edge, especially against theoretical, knowledge heavy individuals.
Then you have the idea of discipline. I have been in this field long enough to know that failure is generally failure of execution. There are 99 things that can go wrong in business but most of the time, it goes wrong because something that had to be done wasn’t done on time, on specs or at all. Once you reach a level of maturity you realize that the only reason you are fat, poor and lonely is because you haven’t done what was required to not be so.
Of course, there are exceptions also called “black swans”, highly improbable negative events, but these are rare. A lack of discipline and focus accounts to failure a lot more than anything else.
In the military, you learn exactly the opposite. You learn to get shit done. Not only that, but you learn to do things right, in order. The military can exist as it is only because it is based on rigid rules and it works as a well oiled machine. There are clear rewards and consequences for obeying and disobeying rules. Now, while I haven’t served, I am sure that after two years of military training, one has a clear advantage in getting things done, especially when compared to college graduates who spent their college life mostly getting drunk and skipping class.
The law of contrast works. As man, we should intentionally look for potentially traumatic situations, to survive and thrive in them. When we face fear, then there are few things that scare us anymore.
In Jungian psychology, there are four archetypes aka personality types. These are the king, the warrior, the mage and the lover.
- The king is organized and caring. He is the diplomat, the person to keep everything together, to eliminate friction. The manager or the leader.
- The warrior is the goal oriented person. He is aggressive, focused, determined to achieve his goal by any cost necessary.
- The mage is the conceptual person. He is charismatic, knowledge oriented, expressive but also goal oriented.
- The lover is the passive one. He is mostly caring, artistic, creative, avoids conflicts, avoids goals.
All of these can be placed on a scale ranging from aggressive to passive, from intuitive to caring. Contrary to popular belief, the idea is not to be one of them but to integrate all of them. A person that operates at a high level of performance can integrate all four archetypes into his personality.
He can care, lead and manage. He can go to war and crush the enemy. He can think and find solutions on a conceptual level. He can detach from the goal and interact on a very human level with others.
Some people have lived in such harsh environments that they need to develop the lover. Some are so action oriented that they need to develop the mage. Some are wussies that need to develop the warrior. Some are so obedient and good followers that they need to develop the king. A fully integrated person is a balanced combination of love and aggression, action and knowledge, ego and super-ego, intuition and consciousness (which are the same as ego and super-ego to some degree).
So where do you need to work on yourself?
In the end, I’d like to finish with this quote …
“They train with the intensity of war. That’s why war has little effect on them” — Roman Legion Commander, 200 BC.