How I "Found" My Vocation
A lot of AoM readers email me to ask for advice about what they should do with their lives. They feel like I might have some good insight into their dilemma since I seem to have been successful in finding my own vocation.
But I honestly didn't really "find" my vocation, because I never actually went looking for it. Instead, it's something I sort of stumbled into.
The idea for the Art of Manliness came to me in 2008 as I was browsing the men's magazine section in a bookstore. It occurred to me that every month the men's magazines put out the same old stuff: how to get six pack abs, how to bed as many women as possible, how to go on exotic trips most men will never be able to afford, and how to buy clothes that were well outside my budget. Most of the content just didn't appeal to me. "Surely there is more to being a man than this," I thought.
As I was driving home, my mind turned from the magazines to the men I knew who were my age, 20-somethings, recent college graduates. It seemed to me that a lot of them were a little lost in life. Many had grown up without the strong influence of a father-they came from divorced families, or if their dad was in the picture, he worked a lot and hadn't spent too much time with his son. Even when guys had come from stable, loving, two parent families, they often felt a sense of restlessness or drift-they weren't sure what to do with their lives, or even what they should want out of life. And they weren't sure what it meant to be a good man.
I realized that I didn't really know either. And that it was hard to blame us-the popular culture certainly didn't offer any answers. The men on sitcoms and commercials were always presented as bumbling, dithering idiots that couldn't do anything right; their more competent wives were left to roll their eyes and clean up their messes. And the men in movies were either meatheads who liked to blow stuff up, or immature man-children (I'm looking at you Judd Apatow).
Finally, I thought about my grandpa. The man was far from perfect, but he sure knew how to do a lot of things that I didn't. It seemed like many of the skills and traditions that had been passed down from generation to generation had stopped being taught.
By the time I got home, an idea for a new blog was percolating in my head. I decided to start a totally new kind of men's magazine. One with the kind of stuff I'd actually want to read. One that helped men understand what it meant to be a man and gain a sense of direction in their lives. A magazine that rediscovered the classic skills of yesteryear so that men could feel confident and competent in a variety of situations. Something that could be both serious and fun. A magazine that could inspire men to reach for excellence and attain their full potential.
I definitely wasn't approaching it as an expert who wanted to share his vast wisdom with others. I didn't consider myself especially manly, I didn't have some long standing interest in manliness, and I hadn't really studied the subject at all. I approached it from the perspective that like a lot of guys out there, I had a bunch of questions that I didn't have the answers to, so I would dive into the best research I could find, and then share what I had discovered on the blog. Instead of telling other men what to do, they could use the information as a catalyst to think about their own lives and make the changes that were best for them.
With that in mind, I started the Art of Manliness in 2008. I figured it could be a fun hobby, something I could work on as a side project while I made a career as a lawyer. I thought maybe a few hundred guys would discover it and find it helpful.
Of course three and a half years later, the Art of Manliness has grown to a 100,000 subscriber blog and become my full-time job. I'm still not an expert in manliness-still just a guy looking for the answers. But along the way I found my vocation. Not by looking within, and deciding that a website for men was what I was born to do, but simply by noticing a problem, and working as hard as possible to fill that void.
Read the whole article here.
Excerpt taken from "theartofmanliness.com".