After 3 long years of work, it’s almost out — Heroic: The Surprising Path to True Manhood. Go check out HeroicBook.com to see more about it, get an excerpt with Chapter 1, and preorder a copy. Release date is April 2. But now I would like to offer you the brief introduction, titled “I Am No Hero.”
Men are incurably fascinated with the heroic. They are mesmerized by heroic men they see in movies. They are pulled toward heroic tales they read in books. They are drawn to heroic deeds in the news. Some strange resonance is at work here, calling something out to a man—unbidden and unknown.
But the resonance doesn’t last.
Back in the world of bosses and bills, tests and emails, it fades into the background—or into non- existence. Perhaps it was a dream. Perhaps it was a silly notion. Perhaps it was nothing at all. Back in the world of the familiar, men feel something very different.
They feel uninitiated. Entering the work world, they have the bodies of men but inside they still feel like boys. Left without markers or guides to navigate the treacherous masculine terrain, they quickly become disoriented. To manage, they hunker down and latch onto anything for some sense of comfort or success.
They feel anonymous. Trying on different jobs and positions, they hope to land not just a steady income, but a clear-cut sense of identity. Yet it eludes them. They don’t know who they are. And they don’t know how to find it. They feel like shadows in the background.
They feel stuck. Stuck in work they tolerate or hate. Stuck in patterns that corrupt or imprison. If there was ever any sense of something burning inside of them to do, it has long been drowned out. The goal of life now is to survive. Some don’t even do that.
If a man were to put words to all of this, it would come as a simple statement: “I am no hero.” If you feel that way, join the rest of us.
Yet the resonance continues to call something out to us. Some mysterious voice bids us, Come and follow. There is so much more to you. There is so much more to your life. You are meant for greater things. Come and follow, even if it costs you blood and spit, grime and grief—even if it costs you everything. In the end, you will lay your body down with no regrets. In the end, you will die a happy man.
What is offered in this book is what it would look like to get up and follow that call. But I must issue a warning at the beginning. This path will be a surprise. The path we typically choose as men—well, that’s what got us into trouble in the first place. True heroes are not necessarily the men who talk the loudest or seem the most successful. They are certainly not the ones who bully others into submission. Neither does the path lead to a stereotyped lumberjack or linebacker sort of manhood. Artists and athletes, musicians and hunters—whatever a man’s gifts or proclivities, he is invited to take the same path. It is one that transcends typecast roles and cultural bounds.
That’s why this way is different. That’s why you must be ready for the unexpected. You must be prepared to enter the unknown. This is the surprising path into manhood.
Another warning. To get up and follow will change everything. It will turn everything upside down. The incalculable may happen. The impossible may be asked. Nothing will be the same as it was before.
One last thing to set the record straight: I am no hero either. Trust me on that one.
But I know Someone who is.