So I went for a run the other day, round Arthur's Seat, the massive chunk of volcanic rock in the middle of Edinburgh. I put Public Enemy's It Takes A Nation of Million to Hold Us Back on my ipod, and fought my way through the rain. The going was good for a while. Then I had to tackle the hill that goes right round the back of Arthur's Seat. It wasn't that long ago that I could scale this no problem, just pacing myself and breathing properly.
But this time, I didn't even make it. I had to come back. I managed it about three quarters of the way, and then my legss just about gave in. I ran most of the way back home, tracing my steps. Only stopping a few times, because I was pissed of I couldn't make it all the way round. But the fact is, it has been 9 months since I did any real routine of exercise.
Again, it was a failure, and I am not proud. I wish now that I had kept going, but maybe it was a good test. Because the real challenge is getting back out there. I have been in this position before, and it is always better the next time. However, the temptation to stay home is even greater, because you really don't want to experience the humiliation any more.
It is importaant to get back out there though. For your mental health more than anything else. And here is the relationship of the male ego, to failure. The male ego is really just a mask for laziness and petulance. There is nothing manly about it whatsoever, in fact. It convinves you that there is no point in doing anything that you fail at. If you can't master something quickly, you don't have the talent, so give up.
The male ego does not like to try, or to be tested, or to experience humiliation or failure. Most of all it does not like to feel self-consscious or embarassed. It will do anything to avoid these things, under the guise of saving face. This may allow us to temporarily maintain some outward appearance of invulnerability, but in reality what have you achieved? Your sense of self is based on nothing but a pretence - to yourself and to others.
My point is, it takes a lot of humility, patience and faith to achieve anything worthwhile. The male ego is the opposite of all these things. It is a way of appearing strong, without having to put your money where your mouth is.
To put it another way, you have to be prepared to make ass of yourself, if you are going to truly prove yourself. Because, the only way to do this is challenge yourself, put yourself out there. Like getting a girl. The only way is to risk rejection and try. If you give up at the first rejection, then you are nullifying the very thing that has any chance of attracting a woman: your self-esteem.
The thing I have to remember is that Project Brando is not a quick fix. In fact, all of us guys have to stop trying to present ourselves as this finished product, as this perfect master of all that we survey. It takes a great depth of self-esteem to be prepared to make ass of yourself, and to stare your failures and weaknesses in the face. And the truth is, if we don't, we will only ever be half the man we desire to be.