Times are changing. Can we men adapt?
An old friend of mine recently got back in touch with me after a long time of not speaking. He tells me he’s trying to live the American dream. And by “American Dream,” I mean “the 2021 Irresponsible Millennial Version of the American Dream.” It means he’s pinning all his hopes on becoming an Instagram influencer.
He tries hard. He takes photos of himself every single day. He wants the fame and attention that comes along with that life. He’s been at it for years. And he’s far from successful.
He posts photos of himself all over the place trying to garner a following. Then he whines and complains publicly about how he’s not getting enough attention.
His victim complex is out of control.
People aren’t giving him the attention his overly inflated self-esteem thinks he deserves. I’m sure you’ve seen this tape before. If you have, let me know how it ends…
As a content creator myself with several successful brands under my belt, I can confidently tell him exactly what he’s doing wrong and suggest ways he could improve.
But he’d hear none of it. He knows better. He’s overly confident in his own failure. Irresponsibility and a refusal to listen to anyone else have become a part of his persona. It’s a part of his identity.
The identity of the Irresponsible Bros.
He’s chasing the dragon pipe dream of success the easy way. The illusion of success that’s been sold to him by Instagram frauds and gurus. After all, he deserves it, right? Nobody’s going to tell him he’s not a deserving and entitled American male.
Not his friends. Not his parents. Not me.
It reminds me of a lot of other dudes I’ve known throughout the years.
“I’m fine just the way I am. I can lay around and play all day. I deserve this. I have no moral obligations to anyone else in life.”
It’s no wonder so many of these guys feel so alone right now. They’ve made an identity around the idea of not being responsible for anything. And if you’re a guy reading this, let me give you a fair warning, that this identity that men are clinging to isn’t the way to happiness. It’s the way to misery.
It’s the “irresponsible bro” mentality that fuels our culture of entitlement among Western Males that’s making so many of us deeply unhappy.
The Irresponsible King of the Bros
Joe Rogan is the King of Irresponsible Bros right now. He courted the anti-vax crowd and got swept up in the alternative medicine swindle. He told millions of his followers that young people shouldn’t get the COVID vaccine — in the middle of a pandemic — right before the new delta wave hit, killing tens of thousands of Americans.
Then he caught COVID.
Then, when news outlets reported on the fact that he was using alternative treatments to handle his sickness, he threatened to “sue” CNN for reporting on it. He’s angry. And it’s so typical of the kinds of guys who follow his podcast. He’s pushing back against accountability. He’s threatening to sue those who criticize his behaviors.
He can’t handle the heat so he wants to burn down the kitchen.
For what it’s worth, I don’t hate Joe Rogan’s podcast. Or at least I didn’t until he moved to Texas and went all crazy right-wing on us. That’s when I had to tune out. Because Joe Rogan has become a symbol of the kind of irresponsible men we’re tired of dealing with in our personal lives.
He’s showing us one of the worst traits of us men today — a total refusal to just admit that he was wrong and that he instructed millions of die-hard followers against basic health advice.
He’s anti-science. His delivery may be different from Alex Jones’ on science issues, but the content is often the same. “Distrust the responsible people of the world.”
The Big Business of Irresponsibility
It’s the same BS you hear spewed out of the mouths of all the phony self-help guru guys.
“Close your eyes and imagine it. It’ll come. You’ll find success.”
Yeah, you’ll find success in your dreams that way. But you’ll never manifest it into reality without really hard work. And because of this, we have a crisis of irresponsible men out there buying the illusion of soon-to-be success — literally buying it in the forms of programs and seminars — instead of learning how to do the hard work.
The hard work is learning how to be responsible. The hard work is learning how to be vulnerable. The hard work is learning how to take care of someone else even when it’s not convenient for you. The hard work is learning to check your ego at the door and do the things that responsible men do.
An entire market has cropped up around selling men the idea that they’re special and thus are exempt from the hard work.
It’s easier to sell someone the feeling that they’ve already arrived at their destination — or at least that where they want to be in life is right around the corner — than it is to sell them the cold, sobering reality that you have to do a lot of hard work to realize most things they want in life.
It’s laziness commodified and regurgitated endlessly for profit.
People who promote this kind of new-age gospel to these kinds of dudes understand this.
It’s big business to convince men that you have the key to unlocking the magic pill that will solve all of their insecurity woes, be they money or relationship problems.
Gas station penis pills have taken on a new form. Now they’re packaged and sold to provide “inspiration” and nothing more.
The kind of inspiration that leads to action faking, where people just pretend they’re working toward goals like responsibility, sustainability, and more, and delude themselves into the belief that they’re almost there.
Read the right books and you’ll have it all. Attend the right seminars and you’ll have it all.
Zero effort required.
Just listen to Joe Rogan and he’ll tell you what to do in life!
We’ve erected a culture of irresponsibility in order to escape the fact that we have to make our own decisions for our lives — and that we’re responsible for ourselves and other people.
But the “irresponsible bro persona” isn’t cool anymore.
Too many of us are tired. Especially women. Too many of us have had to be the people who bailed you out last minute when you ran out of money and didn’t have a job. Or we had to hold your hand and babysit you through your latest breakup because you got drunk and said some stupid things you didn’t mean.
When I was young, carefree drinking and drug use meant you were cool. But we’re so tired of self-destructive lifestyles. We’re especially tired of self-destructive lifestyles that other people end up carrying the burden for.
And this is all part of the big, difficult reckoning we men are currently facing. A lot of us didn’t have parents who were willing or able to teach us the necessary responsibilities in life. So now it’s on us to put in the hard work and make up for the lost time.
Is it uncomfortable? Hell yes, it is. But is it worth it? Absolutely.
You see, society is beginning to move on without us, whether we like it or not. And as I look around, I see a lot of men acting like they’re still in their teenage years — but they’re in their mid-30s or even late-40s and beyond.
Life is a process of several stages. Childhood, adolescence, maturity, and old age. We go through these stages and “graduate” when we learn the necessary things about ourselves and the world for the next stage. But we can’t stay stuck in one stage forever, no matter how much our culture would like to sell us the lie of eternal youth and easy prosperity.
All of that takes doing the work — especially in America.
I think it’s impossible for so many men in the tight confines of their stressed-out minds to grasp just how much they’re externalizing their own bad behavior on to other people; people who have to pick up the pieces of the wreckage they leave in their paths.
Fortunately, times are changing. Irresponsibility is no longer de rigueur.
And you know what Leon C. Megginson, speaking of Darwin’s work:
It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.
And it’s time for a change.
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