This posting on men being master builders is part of my Masculine Design series of articles dedicated to exploring the distinct characteristics programmed into men that form our masculinity. The purpose of this series is not just to impart knowledge but to motivate men to action.
If we desire to actualize our potential as men we must intentionally design our lives around the refinement of the masculinity within us. The mass repression of masculinity is the reason men today are passive, depressed, physically weak, suffering in sexless marriages, lacking self-confidence, and unsatisfied with life.
I refuse to sit on the sidelines as my fellow men suffer.
Designed to Be Master Builders
Men are the builders of civilizations.
We have designed and built cities, homes, roads, railroads, airplanes, skyscrapers, dams, canals, ships, monuments, bridges, and automobiles. Not to mention the countless machines men have invented to make the process of building these things (and many others) cheaper, safer and more efficient.
It could be easily argued that the most tangible contributions to mankind over the course of human history have been envisaged in the minds of men and forged with their hands.
We derive immense satisfaction from conceptualizing, designing, building. We want to know how things work so we can recreate them. This is why our sons will destroy their favorite toys just to see the inner workings. The loss of the toy’s form and function in order to peer inside is deemed a worthy sacrifice.
This inclination doesn’t abate as we age and mature, either. I would be embarrassed to share the number of devices I’ve taken apart in an attempt to fix them or better understand what makes them tick only to find myself unable to make them operational again. My wife laments each and every one of them, while I’m content with the information gained from the exercise.
Women don’t understand why men must deconstruct something simply for the sake of examining how it operates. My wife would just assume to leave something be if it’s working as intended.
Not me. Not men. We want to understand how things work and why they have the design they do. We’re compelled to gaze into the mind behind a creation to glean what we can from it.
Production > Consumption
Men are designed to innovate and create, to produce. Today’s men have traded the satisfaction gained from producing with the misery of over-consumption.
Modern men consume vastly more than they produce. We’ve become a drain on society, leeching away its resources and not doing our part to replenish them.
It seems we’ve forgotten that contentment isn’t attainable unless we’re building, producing, and providing value to our fellow man with the things we create.
Some of our most satisfying days in life are those that provide an opportunity for us to reflect upon the fruits of our labor. Few things remind us of the satisfying power we have as master builders to shape the world around us like being able to look upon that which we’ve built.
Men today have become disconnected from the sense of pride and accomplishment that wells up as we take stock of the things our minds and hands have created. We’re too busy consuming what the media and corporations are feeding us to build anything of our own.
Men are restless, because restlessness is inescapable when our heads hit the pillow without first having put our hands to the plow. There’s a part of us – a part of our masculinity – left empty.
Building gives us purpose and meaning; not doing so produces discontentment and a sense of aimlessness.
Master Builders By Our Own Design
Building and working on improving aspects of our lives gives us a sense of urgency to jump out of bed in the morning. We see potential for improvement and are excited for the day in which that potential will be actualized.
The vision we have for our projects gives us an expectant hope for the future, something to look forward to. It also ensures that we use our time wisely and don’t succumb to the temptation to become complacent with the limited time we have on this earth.
Writing, lifting weights, parenting, podcasting, husbanding, coaching other men, and leading teams of engineers at work are just some of the ways that I “build” in a given day. These are the outlets for the masculine master builder residing inside of me. I see greater potential to be actualized in these areas and actively work to pull it out of me. Every. Single. Day.
Your outlets for creating, building, and fixing things will be different than mine. But they’re just as necessary.
I know little about fixing cars. Truth be told, I can barely change my car’s oil. Other men can replace a transmission blindfolded. That’s not me.
The point is that the interests, life experiences, and God-given talents available for us to use as master builders will be different for each of us. Find what it is you can create, build, or fix, and get to work.
We’re either growing or dying. We never remain the same. Action leads to growth; inaction leads to atrophy. Understanding this truth keeps me driven to continue working and building to increase the value I’m able to impart upon my family and the world. A day that isn’t used to build and create is a day wasted. It can never be bought back.
The days that I fail to create just don’t feel the same. There’s something missing. I feel the pressure of my masculine creative energy building up inside and yearning to be released on the world.
When I fail to build I’m left feeling destitute in my soul. I’m not alone in this. All men have the innate need to build. It’s part of what makes us masculine. It’s part of the image we share with the Master Builder that created man from the dust and breathed the breath of life into his lungs.
Every man feels it when his masculine torch burns with less intensity because of his lack of action. We can’t ignore the divinely inspired purpose entwined within our masculine DNA without being afflicted.
We also can’t fill this need to create and manipulate reality with cheap substitutes.
Build Within Your Own Reality
Video games are an allure for men because they appeal to the yearning we have as master builders to shape reality. Instead of using their masculine inclination to fashion a reality in which they can achieve their ambitions, millions of men are instead being sucked into wasting hundreds of hours every year working to build a more desirable virtual reality within their favorite video games.
Whatever value has been created through his building in the digital world he recluses himself into has no value in the real world. Therefore, it’s a complete waste of his energy, time, and potential.
Playing video games in moderation is fine for entertainment, but that’s not how most men are using them today. They use them as an escape from the challenges that come with building in the real world. The nuisance of having to contend with haters, financial constraints, lack of resources, tight deadlines, and personal sacrifice in the real world is blunted within the confines of a digital one.
Video games are a distraction used as a way for today’s men to fulfill their thirst to create as master builders without the concomitant risks (and rewards) that exist in reality.
It’s no coincidence that, as men have become increasingly disengaged from creative activities, male depression and suicide rates have continued rise. In fact, today’s men are 3.5 times more likely to commit suicide than women.1
Men need to be doing things. It’s the things a man does that give him purpose. Without purpose, depression naturally sets in.
Men today self-sabotage their masculine drive to build. They spend their days immersed in other people’s realities, instead of building their own. They argue on social media, obsessively follow what other men are doing on sports teams, and endlessly absorb information online that is useless to them because they never sack up and take action on any of it.
They fear the failure and discomfort they might experience by trying something new, only to have their lives overwhelmed by the far worse condition of depression and purposelessness that comes as a result of trying to live vicariously through someone else’s reality.
Master Builders Take Consistent Action
The only way we can unleash the masculine power to create that lies within us is by designing our lives so that we are building and creating on a daily basis. This can take different forms (depending on what a man desires to build and improve in his life), but it will always require a commitment to action.
Action is where the rubber meets the road. Nothing of value is created by a man merely thinking about what he intends to create. We must roll our sleeves up and get to work – and do it on a consistent basis.
We often fail to achieve our potential as master builders because we default to taking the paths of least resistance. The process of building is often challenging and strenuous. This is exactly why we must do it. For it is the tasks that make us the most uncomfortable that provide the most growth in our lives.
Doing something constructive is often the least of our desires. Admittedly, the sluggard in me would much rather spend an hour watching television or playing games on my iPhone than lifting weights or crafting a blog posting, even while it’s obvious which of these activities will bring my life the most value.
The more resistance we feel to building and creating, the more certain we can be that it is the precise thing we need to be doing to increase our value as men.
Steven Pressfield masterfully describes this paradox in his book, The War of Art:
Like a magnetized needle floating on a surface of oil, resistance will unfailingly point to that calling or action it most wants to stop us from doing. We can use this as a compass. We can navigate by resistance, letting it guide us to that calling or action that we must follow before all others. The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.2
Master Builders Get to Work
We have been empowered with unique abilities as men that allow us to innovate, design and build in ways that women cannot. We’ve been hardwired with these attributes.
This is why a disproportionate number of men occupy careers in STEM related fields. It’s not an evil plot by the patriarchy to keep women out of the work force and ensure that they earn less than men. It’s because these careers cater to a prime essence of male masculinity.
You’ve been born with the need to build residing inside of you. It’s a piece of the puzzle that makes up your masculine design. It’s part of what makes you a man.
You have to be building and creating something you can call your own if you want your life to be continually infused with purpose. This is how you’re wired. You can’t short-circuit around this part of your masculine programming without severe consequence.
Men, we will never be content in life until our days are spent actively busy; building, creating, and providing value to the world in the specific ways each of us have been uniquely designed to do it.
We have been designed to engineer, and our spirits will not be at rest as long as we’re repressing the innate itch we have to create.
Work that is our own infuses purpose and pleasure into our lives. It invigorates the masculine spirit within. It makes us feel alive.
Men are master builders. You can embrace it or waste your life away in a state of disillusion, dysfunction, and depression. Those are your only options.
– Craig James
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(2) Pressfield, Steven. The War of Art. New York, NY: Black Irish Entertainment LLC, 2002. (p. 18)