For centuries, social constructs have compiled a million ways on how to be a man.
None, however, really guide you there. Former New York Giants defensive end and current Good Morning America contributor, Michael Strahan takes on the life’s toughest obstacles with a winning attitude that every man can respect in his new book, Wake Up Happy: The Dream Big, Win Big Guide to Transforming Your Life ($13.80 on Amazon).
Part memoir, part roadmap to happiness, Wake Up Happy delves into Strahan’s transition from boyhood to manhood and everything in-between. Along the way, Strahan offers some rules of life to finding success–but it’s not a money and fame type of success. It’s a success that is rich with ambition and happiness.
Success, by definition, is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. Each person possesses their own perception of what being successful really means and it’s worth noting that success can come in more ways than one. Wake Up Happy details Strahan’s upbringing in a reflection of this classic storyline, as he compiles some the straightforward wisdom his father passed on into a simple list of 18 rules for everyone to live by.
“Growing up, my dad always used to say, ‘when’ not ‘if.’ When you get a scholarship to college…,’ ‘When you make it into the NFL…,’ ‘When you get into the Hall of Fame….’ He taught me to believe that my dreams were not only possible, but that they were inevitable with hard work and dedication.” (Rule #9, Wake Up Happy)
This positive attitude and desire is at the forefront of Strahan’s overall wake up happy method. As a man who owns over 50 suits (and even has his own personal line, Collection by Michael Strahan), adopted workout routines from Jane Fonda to lose weight as a kid, and co-founded a management and branding company, the Texas-born juggernaut epitomizes the look good, feel good, do good mentality.
From starring on the gridiron, to his almost seamless transitions to television, radio, and the world of fashion design, Strahan inadvertently painted a path to becoming a man. Or more simply, with grit and determination, he made his life into what he wanted it to be. Here are some of our favorite rules to help you wake up happy.
Rule No. 1: Help can – and will – come from the most unexpected places. Be open to everything around you.
When you live with an open mind, a strong sense of self-awareness is accrued. As a result, you allow yourself to gain confidence as you learn more and more about the world around you without your blinders on. Whether it’s your coworker offering to help you move or your Lyft driver setting up networks with people in your field, this willingness to be open is contagious and others around you will follow suit.
Rule No. 3: Grit, desire, and discipline are free and the only equipment you need to start just about any endeavor.
Pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth discovered that the secret to exceptional achievement and growth in a field isn’t directly correlated with talent. Rather it stems from a special quality psychologists call, “grit,” which she explains in her New York Times Bestseller.
Rule No. 5: Too many of us count ourselves out before we even give ourselves a chance. Do the work. Be excellent. You’ll find your place, and it may just be where you least expect it.
It’s true that we are the harshest critics to ourselves when it comes to success and failure. But if you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect others to believe in you? Confidence and hard work will get you closer to excellence than any makeshift entry on your resume.
Rule No. 7: “Am I the man or the woman that I hoped to be?” If you want to be more, you’ve got to do more.”
Self-reflection is an important aspect when gauging growth and setting goals; but it’s also one of the hardest things to do. Too often we rely on others to measure our purpose when the power to fill that void rests entirely on us. The car wont move unless you put it into drive and press on the gas.
Rule No. 17: There’s more power in your attitude than in your bank account.
Along with Strahan, I’m a firm believer that you can control your own attitude for the betterment of life. A positive attitude will provide you with stress security when your bank account is low and will eventually lead you to find something productive to do to change your situation. Remember Rule No. 3: grit, desire, and discipline are free.
Images courtesy of Simon Schuster.