Monday, March 14, 2011

Dragon slaying

I see all manner of posts and thoughts about approximating the behavior of Alphas. I thought it would be far more useful to explain how Alphas become Alphas in the first place, and what you can do to train your sons, and yourselves, to be Alphas.

Do not approximate. Do or Do Not. There is no Approximate.

An insightful blogger here pointed out that the alpha ego, enormous as it is, is based in reality. The alpha's positive self-image and confidence are the direct result of what? It comes from success. But success at what? Well... that's the important question. It has to be what people consider... real. Business... sport... music... art... anything.... almost. Video game success is going to help you out with your geek clique but the rest of the world just doesn't give a crap about your latest World of Warcraft raid. If you want to move up the social ladder, you do that not by aping behavior., but by growing into an interesting person. Now, I hear the Gammas hissing already. I know, I know... you are interesting and if everyone else was just smarter they'd see how amazing you really are. You gammas are free to stop reading now, as for the most part, you're utterly hopeless. A pox on you.

But you omegas... you low deltas... you're the ones I'm really talking to. Look, you don't need therapy dudes. You need a life. That's not an insult, its a pathway. Its advice. Let me 'splain.

Alphas are always described as the center of attention, telling loud self-aggrandizing stories. Well... what if they had no stories? What if the stories weren't true? They wouldn't be alphas, would they? That is the very difference between alphas and omegas and deltas. Alphas are interesting, and they have reality-based self-confidence that stems from challenges bested.

Men have been denied challenge their whole lives. You've had no adventures. What have you done? When you look back on your life to this point, what makes you smile and say "wow that was something most people haven't done"? If the answer is "I have a level 80 Undead Death Knight" then congratulations, you're a delta or more likely an omega. If your answer is, "Well... I climbed Kilimanjaro and one night in Stockholm I kicked Izzy Stradlin's ass" then you're probably an alpha.

Ah, but you say, "Dude I can't afford to go to Africa and Sweden's weird."

You're right. But you don't start at the top. You start at the bottom... and the basis of all self confidence is accomplishment. So pick a challenge and go meet it. Don't just meet it, destroy it. Crush it. Learn mountain climbing. Learn to rappel. Learn sky diving or scuba diving. If that isn't your style, then build something. Learn wood working and build things with your own hands and when the products are finished, they will stare back at you and the excellence before you will be an external proof of your own worth. You don't need to stand in front of a mirror and recite any stupid self affirmations. The proof is right there. There was no sturdy, well-built table and now there is. The very table itself looks at you and says, "you're good enough, you're smart enough, and dog gone it, people like you."

You know this is true. You know it because you tasted it when you setup that pretty girl's DSL modem for her. It wasn't her attention that fed you. It was your accomplishment and the fact that however small your contribution was, there was real, externally verified value there. Now imagine if you hadn't done a geeky thing like that. Craftwork is the elementary school for self-confidence, friends. Start with your hands. If you've already surpassed that level of self confidence, then its time to move on to adventure. Go places. See things. Do. Go and Do. If you're not an extrovert, that's fine. Go alone. In fact, in a lot of ways that makes you cooler. Sigmas are alphas whose challenges are largely bested alone.

The difference in natural-born alphas and you is that we were born with this burning desire to challenge ourselves, and in our minds we never fail. Never. We never fail because we never quit. As a child I would hear my friends say, "I can't do that." and it sounded absolutely alien to me. I would think "what do you mean you can't do it? Have you tried? Have you worked at it really hard for days on end?"

It's bollocks.

What one man can do, another can do.

So get off your ass and do it. Live, dammit! You're a man. The world may not provide you with dragons to slay, but you'll die if you don't. So create your own dragons and crush them. Crush them, dammit, and their carcasses will feed your soul and their blood will fill your heart... and a pretty girl will seem about as threatening as the dried leaves of fall you crush under your feet without a second thought.

So... what are you gonna do?

- Nate


Scott said...

Wow Nate!

That was great!

Very insightful!

Jay Stang said...


Spot on! What Nate is talking about are what used to be called "becoming a man". There were milestones, or achievements that men in the past could point to. Becoming an Eagle Scout. Stepping on to the parade deck at Parris Island or San Diego. Running with the bulls. Coming out on top in a fist fight. Standing up to a bully. All these experiences make men, and that is really what the point of all this is. Women want men!!! They don't want women, or men who are like women, or else they would become lesbians.

My father always told me that when a women reaches out for you, she wants to feel something firm and solid, like a rock. She doesn't want to feel something soft and unstable. Why does Jesus describe himself as a rock? Same reason.

Men are in short supply these days. That is why Game is so important.

jay c said...

I agree completely.

(Except I think you're confusing Gammas and Omegas. Gammas are the ones who are consumed with self-doubt.)

Nate said...

Perhaps... but you know what kills self-doubt? Externally validated accomplishment.

Like building something... fixing something.

And most likely the biggest issue Omegas have is their inability to determine what society thinks is interesting, and what society thinks is just creepy.

Omegas need basic guidance in where to focus their energies to produce the results that society will recognize as valuable.

Jay Stang said...


If a woman becomes a lesbian due to your inability to act like a man, don't celebrate, because you ain't gettin' none of that action!

Josh said...

Adventures, nasty, uncomfortable things, make one late for dinner...

Jay Stang said...

..And second dinner!

Anonymous said...

This is good advice for everyone, of course, but not sufficient advice for most who aren't alphas, and a much slower route if it works at all.

The most useful point was the oxymoronic nature of imitating alphadom.

Nate said...

The idea here is that it need not be an either or situation.

its not like anyone here has suggested Game is a quick fix. It to is a process.

I am suggesting that while one explores game... he should also attempt to grow into an actually interesting person so there is substance to back up his Game.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree with that. And if one is a Christian, one shouldn't need to invent dragons. The Kingdom's to-do list is infinite.

Desert Cat said...

As a child I would hear my friends say, "I can't do that." and it sounded absolutely alien to me. I would think "what do you mean you can't do it? Have you tried? Have you worked at it really hard for days on end?"

I have never understood this. There is nothing that I put my mind to doing that I cannot do, and it is the same for everyone. Or should be. Yet people flummox me on a regular basis with their "can't" "too hard" "don't know how" "I have no talent" excuses. Sure stuff is hard. That's where they 99% perspiration that Thomas Edison said was behind every invention of his.

And Yoda, "Do. Or do not. There is no try." Words to live by.

Listen to Nate. Success is built on success, yes, but also on the back of failure and hard work, but once you catch the bug and realize that your hands, your eyes, your brain have world-shaping power, then those failures and all that hard work are nothing more than steps along the way. It's like a drug, and once you've sipped that sweet nectar a few times, you know the road is worth it.

VD said...

Perhaps there is another difference between alphas and sigmas.

Alpha: I can DO that!
Beta: I'll do that WITH you!
Delta: Is it okay to do THAT?
Gamma: There is no way I can do that. Anyway, I wouldn't WANT to.
Sigma: Why would I want to do that when I'm already doing this?
Omega: What is that?

zoegirl said...

More women need to understand that men need to slay dragons. I see so many mothers discourage their sons(and husbands) and they just don't have a clue, but rather it is the result of a misguided natural instinct.

For example, recently my teenage son was in the middle of belt testing and he injured his elbow. My mother instinct was to go and comfort him and pull him out of testing, but I knew that if I intervened I would be taking something really important away from him - more important than the belt even. I don't think I would have known that had I not had strong male presences in my life. So while we discuss how to grow men, I think it's important for women to learn our part in that too.

Nate said...

So hobbits are Gamma by nature.

Stanley said...

I am a dragon slayer. I am a sigma. The story of an alpha in the making.

dreadpiratk said...

Spot on. Now we're getting somewhere. I read these blogs because I am trying to figure out what to teach my sons about Game. How do I communicate that the means are worth while, but the common end is not?

I am a typical Delta. As young man I was very gamma at times, and only had intermittent success with women. Then I became addicted to climbing. I started turning down dates to spend my weekends at the local crag, and suddenly I was tripping over women who wouldn't have looked at me twice before. I really didn't get it at the time, now I do thanks in part to these posts.

As John Eldredge says, women want a man to lead them on an adventure. I don't think WoW counts.

Underwater Operative said...

A random thought on "What one man can do, another can do."
Most of the guys who started BUD/s (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) training with me didn't finish, only 14 of the original 130 guys. We all had to pass an initial physical test to get into BUD/s. The Navy spends a lot of money creating frogmen and their test is meant to ensure only those who are physically able to pass BUD/s get in. A few people do get dropped because of physical injury, but the vast majority just up and quit. Every single man in my class could have passed or the Navy wouldn't have given them a spot to train, so why did they quit?
Most of your time in training is spent doing physical evolutions and yet if you were to ask anyone who passed BUD/s, they'll tell you it's 90 percent mental....or more! I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that, "What one man can do, another can do." Just one of the many things that got me through training.
Good post Nate
~ Underwater Operative

Nate said...

Its always nice when a SEAL has your back.

jay c said...

Joseph Dantes said...
This is good advice for everyone, of course, but not sufficient advice for most who aren't alphas, and a much slower route if it works at all.

Like coals and diamonds, the quickest route to graduating someone from gamma/omega-hood is to put him in a pressure cooker. If he overcomes, he's on his way. If he doesn't, he was probably never going anywhere anyway.

Clint said...

I have also wondered why so many guys say "I can't do that." That never entered my mind. There have been times that I attempted to do things that were absolutely stupid, dangerous, and just dang near impossible. I didn't give any of those things a single thought until someone else pointed them out after I had done it.

I hadn't give that much thought until I read your post.

Good one, Nate.

Wendy said...

For more info, see a Dos Equis commercial.

It also helps to get over the "I can't do that" by hanging out with people who don't think that way.

Joshua_D said...

"What one man can do, another can do."


Orville said...

I agree with Nate's either or comment. Too many people take a binary approach to life. I like the dead cat approach, if one way to skin it doesn't work there's always another one. The best MLB hitters only have a 30% success rate.

Stingray said...

Ever come across an alpha who may have become that way because he was told he could not do things and accomplished them just to, basically, piss people off and say "Yes, I can. See?"

RealMatt said...

I have no interest in doing anything.

Allabaster said...

Nate, nice article but your distain for online gaming achivement comes across as a bit of a rationalisation.

I merely note that your CODMW2 online not ally themselves with your alpha status.

I mean killing as much as you die is fine, but not alpha.

Nate said...

Perhaps dear Allabaster... were I not covering your lagging ass I could've managed a little better.

Nate said...

If only I could count how many times I heard the famous aussie refrain... "AVENGE ME!!"

Allabaster said...

Haha, all in good fun champ. Although my lagging ass managed to top the scores a couple of times there.....
But anyone who says COD does not matter is a filthy commie.

To all the ilk with a 360 and MW2 add ALLABASTER on live and we can get a game going some time.

Anonymous said...

I feel that I needed this. Much Appreesh.

Jack Amok said...

Zoegirl, excellent observation, and good on you for being able to put it in practice with your own son.

We don't have Rights of Passage much any more, since we think we're all so civilized and above all that primitive nonsense. But among the things that a Right Of Passage for a boy did was to tell his mother he was old enough to pick himself up off the ground when he fell down.

A six year old boy needs his mom to give him a hug and make it all better when he gets a scrape. A 16 year old needs to take care of it himself. Somewhere in between it switches over, and we don't do a really good job of letting Moms known when that happens. Hell, we don't do a good job of letting Dad know either.

Anonymous said...

"Like coals and diamonds, the quickest route to graduating someone from gamma/omega-hood is to put him in a pressure cooker. If he overcomes, he's on his way. If he doesn't, he was probably never going anywhere anyway."

There's some truth in that, but also a lot of wrong.

Men always want it to be pack rules, all the way. Unfortunately it's a socio-SEXUAL hierarchy, and the half you have sex with has a herd mentality...

Anonymous said...

This is part of the reason women find men in military uniform hot. The have a confidence after making it past bootcamp that you can taste. They may be low on the totem pole in the military..but among other men they stand out.

And I noticed that there is some serious problems because there are no vision quest type things for boys anymore. Seems they knock girls up and join gangs to prove their manhood now. Pity, seems kissing a cobra or killing a bear would do them much better and did for centuries.
Gotta love feminism.


T14 said...

Yeah, definitely haven't noticed men in military uniform doing particularly well (save for academy guys). Indeed, there is an oft substantiated stereotype regarding military wives. In the end it likely has to do with class, like most things.

LP2021 Bank of LP Work in Progress said...

That was inspirational! Great piece.

Mr.B.A.D. said...

"Do or Do Not. There is no Approximate."

but but but, Yoda said "adventure, heh, excitment, heh, a jedi craves not these things".....

I'm so confused now.

ridip said...

You know. I still remember the moment and it was a moment when I switched from some mid-alphabet soup person to what I am now.

I was always the smartest kid in school. Always. I've met one person in my life that I could mentally run at full speed with. But smart ain't good enough.

Every year in elementary school we had to run an 800, yards/meters I don't remember. What I do remember was my 6th grade year. About 50 yards in realized I had never tried. I just trotted my way through. I wondered what it would be like to finish near the front with the 4 guys whose athletic ability I respected.

What the hell. I figured I'd probably fail, but I would never know if I did not try. So, I took off.

Within a 100 yards I was up with the front four and keeping up. About 200 yards out I kicked it up a notch and took the lead. The "fastest" guy in the class wasn't having any of that he took off and for the last 100 yards we both ran as fast as we could, pushing one another to levels neither of us knew we could go. You could see the look on the coach's face. He was shocked and thinking "What the hell?"

Joe and I finished that race side-by-side not slowing one iota until we crossed the line at home plate and smashed into the fence beyond. That was the moment. Bam!

I had gotten tired of staring at everyone's ass. Realized I had never really tried and decided "What the hell, maybe I can, maybe I can't, but I'm going to try." That afternoon I achieved more than I ever thought I could and I would never be the same.

For you gammegas, go find success. And once you have found it never let go. When you start to feel the slide back down to unacceptable retell your success story to yourself and before long it won't be a story. You will have a collection of them.

Susan Walsh said...

Nate cracked the code here of something very important to women as a proxy for dominance: mastery. As Nate says, it doesn't matter what you're good at, to a large extent. I have felt the tingle watching Bobby Flay chop onions.

I once had a reader challenge me on this point and demand to know if a man could be considered sexy by virtue of being good at calculus. The answer is yes, if he has a way of displaying that mastery. An econ prof putting a proof on the board can be sexy (and was!).

Gaming doesn't work well because no women see it. STEM guys don't often get to display professional mastery to women because there are so few of them in the field. Developing other interests is essential for this, and carries the additional benefit of making you a more interesting person as well.

Anonymous said...

Susan, I was JUST thinking that. I was thinking of people like Bobby Flay, Jamie Durie, Mark Bartolomeo...etc. These guys on the home making/decorating shows. There are two types. The feminine guy or the ultra dominate one who has serious swagger. You would think only someone like a sniper or wrestler would have swagger, but these guys have swagger because they KNOW they are masters at what they do and that is VERY attractive.

A friend of my family is a semi-famous muscician who was very overweight for awhile. He isn't the most atrractive guy..but he can sing, play instruments and write amazing. He stays with us when he is in our area and at that particular show some women were seriously losing it over him. He asked me why. He said he knows he is no Brad Pitt and just didn't get it. I said "You don't have to be awesome looking if you are a man, you have to be GOOD, really really GOOD at something. Talent is as hot as looks. Talent equals the potential for power and money, but mostly it is hot when someone can do something most people cannot." And he laughed and said he guessed that is how he got his hot wife before he even got famous.

Ahh, yeah :)

My Husband is never hotter then when he is doing something really really well. Especially something that I either cannot do or don't want to do but really want done.

I get the vapors HEHE!


Anonymous said...

Mastery can either be the elegant garnish to an alpha soul, or a crutch that comically offsets its smallness.

bob k. mando said...

well done, Nate.

TobyTemple said...

Hmmm.... I'll aim for Mt. Apo first.

Then maybe learn sky diving. But the thought of falling from a plane just scares the hell out me...

how to create a dating profile said...

Be natural and friendly, don't appear too nervous or stutter when you talk. Maintain an eye contact and keep the connection on going.

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