Challenging the Alpha

I woke up one morning thinking about wolves and realized that wolf packs function as families. Everyone has a role, and if you act within the parameters of your role, the whole pack succeeds, and when that falls apart, so does the pack.
Jodi Picoult
We constantly hear some guy calling himself the Top Dog or the Alpha Male, as if it were some sort of badge proving his superiority, where others live just to serve him. To me, any man who uses this term is simply exposing his ignorance and pettiness. He does not understand what it means to be part of a Pack and much less the role of the leader within the Pack.

The role of the Alpha is not to be served by the Pack, but to serve the Pack. He is given first pick of whatever is hunted because the Pack needs him to be strong. He is the one at the front of a hunt, and the pack’s success or failure is determined by his actions. He leads, not by orders, but by example.

Alpha is not a position of convenience. The Pack’s livelihood depends on the Alpha’s actions. He doesn’t look for excuses, or blames his pack mates. And if he is not successful in his service to the pack, it is the packs responsibility to remove him, forcefully. 

So every time we hear this petty, self-centered man claiming to be an Alpha, we see how little he understands the very nature of the word. These guys lack the understanding of the responsibility, honor, and extended accountability that comes from this role.

And that is where man must become a Gentle Man. He must never view himself as superior to anyone; just hold himself to superior expectations. He must treat all people with respect at all times. For one, because you never know when you'll need their help. And two, because it's a sign you respect people, which all great men do.

He must lead without leading. Those around him should know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. He must look at the nobility within everyone, and he must become a Lion or a Wolf, who live, fight, and die for their family.

The Alpha doesn’t need to say it with words, but by how he inspires others to become more. His role is not to be served, but to serve. Then, and only then, will people will understand what it means to be an Alpha.


Millions of Road for a Single Simple Path.

All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.
-Winston Churchill-
One of the biggest challenges a Gentleman, a Noble Man, must overcome is the idea that what you do and how you do it is right, therefore everything else is wrong. If our code of conduct has lead us to become better men, then that is the only way. Right? 


I will admit, at one time I thought like that. I believed that what made me the good man I aspire to be was determined exclusively by what defined me. And I will also admit it was a blow to my vanity when I realized I was wrong. You see, there are good men and bad men everywhere. The same code that lead to the Ideal Knight, also lead to religious wars. Too many Good Men have fought and killed other Good Men because of this vanity.

The problem is not the code, or the belief, or even the ideal. It’s the execution. Righteous Men come from all over, from all walks of life, from all cultures and religions.  So do Petty Men. Throughout history, codes have been developed, philosophies have been established, and religions have taken ground all as a guide to becoming a Righteous Man. Be it the Chivalry, Destreza, Furusiyya, Bushido, Do, Se-Sok, the Path, the Way, or whatever other name you want to give it, the goal is still the same; to become a better man.

You can’t blindly follow any road, but rather be willing to look at all roads. Learn from all of them. Take what works from one, learn what to avoid from another. And forge your own road, because every man walks his own road. 

Yet within all those different roads, the path of the Gentle Man is only one.  Do good, be good, and teach by example. How you do this, is up to you, just as long as you never hurt other in the process and never stand tall on the shoulders of others.

You will meet many people, each with different beliefs. The fact that they are different does not make them less than you, or make you more than them. Always remember that.


Forget about being Noble. Just be Human.

I don't have to show anything to anyone. There is nothing to prove.
Cristiano Ronaldo
A couple days ago I sat through a rather interesting workshop (Summit for WorkingFamilies) as a representative of NCMB/NCWG. During the discussions, one aspect that came up was employers who gave time off to their workers to handle family issues. When one person complemented the employer for their noble act, the employer just said the following:

I’m not being Noble. I’m being Human. And that’s the least you can do.

He continued explaining what he was doing was easy, giving his employees the breathing room to carry on the fight. It was them who were the real Noble people, those dealing with the struggle, and yet carries on every day. That’s when it hit me, we have become so desensitized, so isolated into our own selfishness that when someone actually acts human, we view it as an exceptional act of nobility. 

And I was reminded of a story I heard a several months ago. This family struggling with their child’s cancer asked Cristiano Ronaldo, the soccer player, if he could send them a shirt so they could auction it off to pay for the kid’s treatment. He did more than that, and covered all the expenses for them. Yet, he said nothing to the media. They found out because of the family he helped.

If you have seen him during the World Cup, you will notice he has a “Z” marked into his haircut. Bad haircut jokes started to flood the social media. It wasn’t till later that they found out why. 

You see, it’s not about being noble, or about wanting attention, or about doing the right thing to brag about it. It’s about being human, and helping those going through the real tough time. We all know someone who had been dealt a bad hand. The least you can do is offer them a hand, ESPECIALLY if nobody offered you a hand when you were down.


Be your own Man

Once, as a kid, I was asking for my grandfather’s advice about a girl. As much as I liked her, she made it pretty clear that she didn’t like me. He looked at me rather seriously and asked me a simple question.

Do you like yourself?

At that moment my answer was “No.” I wasn’t that confident with whom I was. I was expecting some sort of pep talk about how great of a kid I was, some sort of validation to make me feel better. He looked at me and smiled.

If you don’t like yourself, how do you expect her to like you? Work on yourself till YOU like yourself. Then, if she still doesn’t like you, we’ll figure it out what’s wrong with her.

So I worked on me. 

Most of the time we complain that someone doesn’t like us, the only thing we are looking for is a validation. It’s not about liking someone or about being liked. It’s all about feeling validated, recognized. The problem with this attitude is, the other person holds power over your confidence.

The truth is, the only validation you need is yourself. Are you happy with yourself? Can you do better with yourself? Then do so. When you no longer need someone else’s validation, only then can you be in an honest relationship, where recognition is received and not “bought.”


You control your focus, where shall you aim it?

We can complain because the rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because the thorn bushes have roses.
Abraham Lincoln
This world is not fair, it’s not nice, and it’s not just. We will constantly be exposed to situations that will make us question our faith in humanity and why we even want to try and become a better person. We are beset by threats and horrors every day.


This world needs work to be fair, it’s as nice as you make it, and it takes just men to make it into a just world. We will constantly be exposed to situations that will re-afirm our dedication to humanity, and confirm why we try to become better people. We are beset by people doing good every day.

Same world, different focus.

We control where we focus our thoughts and our views on. We can focus on the negative aspects, leading lives of constant struggles and challenges. This is usually a side effect of a life of constant struggle, and constant challenges. The problem with this is you grow accustomed to the battle, that when it’s finally over, you still see enemies in everyone you meet.

We can also focus on the positive aspects, finding the beauty and the goodness around us. Focus on those doing good, on the blessings, on the beauty. Learn to look back, and learn to appreciate how much better you are than what you were yesterday.

Just be careful not to ignore the thorns while you smell the roses.