I haven’t been posting on my blog as much in the past year or so, mainly because I’ve been focusing on a lot of things behind the scenes.
One of my major focuses in the past few months, has been growing my social media presence—particularly my Twitter account.
Along the way, I’ve met quite a few interesting people on Twitter, from the infamous Cobra Tate, to the cryptic Life Math Money account.
One person, namely Ed Latimore, really stood out to me, though. Not just due to his long list of accomplishments, but due to their variety.
He’s a former heavyweight boxer and Army veteran, and he holds a degree in Physics. He’s also a blogger, best-selling author, and Twitter influencer, as if simply being a former heavyweight boxer wasn’t impressive enough.
Ed wasn’t born with much, though—in his own words, he grew up in “the hood” and struggled with alcoholism all his life. This, in my opinion, makes his long list of achievements even more impressive.
In his own words, he was able to come out of poverty, and build a better life for himself. He shares much of the lessons he’s learned from doing this, on his blog, which I highly recommend you go check out if you have the time.
In many ways, Ed Latimore embodies the “warrior philosopher” spirit which the ancient Greeks held to such high esteem. He holds not only accomplishments of the body, but accomplishments of the mind, as well—and this, in my opinion, is something not easy to do.
Introducing Ed Latimore
As I said, I was impressed by Ed Latimore’s range of accomplishments, so I decided to shoot him a DM on Twitter. At the time my account only had a thousand followers or so, and his was around 100,000.
Eventually, we got to talking, and I told him that I had a blog. I asked if I could publish an “interview” of sorts, where he gave his top lessons for young men in life, seeking some sort of guidance.
He seemed pretty excited about the idea, and whipped up five of the most important life lessons that he learned from growing up in poverty, and going on to build a successful life from nothing.
- Impatience Makes Sure It’ll Never Happen
- Become as Attractive As Possible
- Good Manners Are Always Valuable
- Motivation is Bullshit
- Take Nothing Personally
So, without further ado, here’s what Ed Latimore has to say.
5 Ways to Become A Better Man
I like to tell people that I’ve lived 4 different lives.
- In the first life, I was a poor kid growing up in the public housing projects of Pittsburgh.
- In the second life, I was an aimless alcoholic who lived for weekends and had no money or marketable skills.
- In the third life, I was a professional heavyweight boxer, an adult student pursuing a physics degree, serving in the United States Army.
- In the fourth life, the life I’m living now, I’m a writer, marketing, speaker, and I’ve been sober for 6 years.
From each of these lives, I’ve learned many important things that I will take into whatever the next life brings me.
You see that each life sets the stage for the next life and in it, there are different challenges that I had to overcome. From those challenges, I learned many valuable lessons that continue to shape my life and serve as a catalyst for my personal development.
In this post, I’ve chosen the 5 most important lessons I’ve picked up from these different lives. I believe that these lessons can make a tremendous difference in your quality of life and assist you in becoming a better man.
1. Be Patient As Hell
“Impatience guarantees that you’ll never get anything.” -Ed Latimore
When you want things to happen quickly, you won’t spend time building something worthwhile because worthwhile things take time to build. You see this often in people who hop from one new hobby to another, giving up before they ever make any real progress.
The more value you add, the higher quality of life you can enjoy. The only way to increase your value is to spend time becoming at least proficient at something. If you aren’t proficient at something, you’ll never be valuable enough to live a life that makes you happy.
Consistently taking small steps towards your goals won’t immediately produce anything tangible or obviously valuable, but if you keep at it, it’s amazing what you can build in 1-2 years. Sometimes it’s hard work, but it’s always worth it.
This idea can be seen everywhere, but I’ll use examples from my personal life.
- My website brings in over 100k page views per month, but that’s only after I consistently wrote for and published content for 5 years.
- My newsletter has 16k subscribers. This is because I’ve consistently put on the best newsletters that I can over the past 5 years
- My Twitter account has 111k followers. This is because I’ve consistently tweeted quality content over the past 6 years.
Because I took the time to build these assets, I have a robust infrastructure that makes it easy to earn a location independent income. This wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for taking daily action on my writing and building my social media.
Fitness and skill acquisition follows the same route. You will not build the body of your dreams if you are not willing to be patient and do the daily work. If you don’t practice everyday, you’ll never learn another language, how to play an instrument, or get better at anything.
Every skill worth developing requires patience. If you’re some guy in his 20’s worried that he hasn’t accomplished anything yet, don’t worry, be patient, and do the work.
2. Become More Attractive
The benefits of this go beyond dating. Everything in life is easier when you accept that people judge books by their covers. Instead of getting angry at this, you may as well use it to your advantage. The successful man understands this and uses it to his advantage.
Don’t worry about your height or facial structure because there isn’t anything you can do about it. You need to focus on what you can control. What can you control, exactly?
- Keep your body fat low and your muscle mass high
- Develop a sense of style and learn how to make sure your clothes are the proper fit
- Learn how to have a conversation
- Live a life that makes you an interesting person with interesting things to talk about
Appearances are important and no amount of protesting this idea will make a difference. However, it’s important to remember that part of being an attractive guy is also your social presentation.
I’ve always been an interesting guy and kept myself in shape, but it wasn’t until I got in my 30’s that I learned the value of spending a little extra money to have my clothes tailored, get a nice pair of leather shoes, and getting my haircut every 2 weeks. These grooming tips are the little things that go a long way in making a big impression on the world.
When you present your best self to the world, the world gives you the best opportunities in return.
3. Have Good Manners
“Good manners never make a situation worse.” -Ed Latimore
No one ever looks down on a person with good manners. Even people who don’t have them.
By simply being polite and addressing strangers as “ma’am” or “sir” (regardless of their age), you make it difficult for people for people to be mean to you. This increases the likelihood of them being nice to you.
It always pays to have strangers thinking of ways to be nice to you rather than mean.
Your portions are bigger at restaurants when you address the staff respectfully with good manners. I’ve gotten out of several traffic stops because I was simply polite and respectful to the officers.
Good manners can be the difference between getting your ass kicked by the police and being told to “Slow down and have a nice night.”
I grew up in a poor and violent place. The one thing that would always make a problem worse is when someone felt like they were being disrespected. A lot of problems were avoided if the person simply said “My bad” with an sincere tone while holding eye content.
Your manners don’t have to be sophisticated, but you do need to make an attempt to show respect and treat people like they matter. All anyone wants is to feel like they have some intrinsic value as a human being.
Deny them that feeling at your own peril.
4. Motivation is bullshit
Either you want a better life or you don’t.
There are people who know what needs to be done and they just do it. Then there are people who make excuses and are waiting for the right moment.
Sometimes the difference between top performance and a mediocre life is simply doing what needs to be done, regardless of how you feel about it.
Any athlete understands this well.
When I boxed, training was hardly enjoyable. It wasn’t exactly miserable, but there are things I wanted to do WAY more than train. But I knew that if I didn’t train, I would not be able to perform well.
My goal was to be the best boxer that I could be. Once I made the goal, it didn’t matter how I felt about it. Motivation ceased to be a factor. I just did what I needed to do, every day, without complaining or expecting it to become easier.
If you rely on motivation, you’re relying on emotion. Emotions are unpredictable and short lived.
Some days you’ll feel like taking on the world while other days, you’ll just want to lay in bed and browse social media. If you only take action when you’re motivated to, you’ll never make any progress.
One thing that I learned in my 20’s is that self-discipline will determine the quality of your life more than anything else. If you can make yourself take action regardless of how you feel–even if it’s only a small amount each day–then you are going to make tremendous progress towards your goals.
This also works when it comes to eliminating bad habits.
I’ve been sober for 6 years and I can tell you that there is a lot of truth in the idea of taking it one day at a time. When I first stopped drinking, there were days where I just wanted to give up. My life didn’t instantly get better so there were several times I wondered if it was even worth it.
If I had relied on motivation to keep me sober, I would have failed miserably. Instead, I relied on discipline and commitment to the goal. If you’re serious about self-improvement, then you can’t rely on motivation because real self-improvement is not fun. It takes a strong man to do what it takes to become even stronger.
If you’re leaning on your emotions and motivation, you won’t be able to put the work in every single day because some days, you’ll just want to be lazy. This is simply human nature, but becoming a better man means overcoming your tendency to coast through life.
The sooner you stop letting your emotions dictate your actions, the sooner you can take control of your life and lead it in any direction you like.
5. Take Nothing Personally
“Never take it personally. Even when it is.” -Ed Latimore
Even when it actually is an attempt to personally attack you. Actually, in the moments that someone appears to be making a personal attack, this is when it’s most important that you don’t take things personally.
Of all of the things I’ve learned, this is both the most helpful and the most difficult to implement.
It’s a bad idea to take things personally because when you do, your emotions get involved. This makes it difficult for you to assess the situation and make the best move to support your objective.
When people try to get under your skin, then you should view their attacks as merely those of someone acting out and not as someone acting out towards you specifically. If you do this effectively, the offender should just look like an immature child who didn’t get their way.
The biggest mistake you can make is doing something with permanent consequences in a temporary state of mind. Your emotions are temporary, so it’s important that you don’t let them influence permanent decisions.
The other tremendous benefit of not taking things personally is that it keeps you from believing that the universe has singled you out for any particular blessing or curse. This mindset is important because it allows you to realize that you can do anything.
No force conspires against you anymore than special forces gather for your benefit. You were dealt a hand–a certain genetic profile, to certain parents, in a certain place, and in a certain time period. You may have gotten extremely lucky, unlucky, or somewhere in between, but none of it was personal.
If you follow this to its natural conclusion, then it means that you don’t have any excuses for not improving your life. If you’re capable of reading this, you’re capable of having a spectacular life. No matter where you or what you’ve done, if you are alive and free, you can make something of yourself.
All in all, I hope you guys enjoyed these lessons from Ed Latimore (it’s Jon writing this—I’m back). I thought they were very insightful.
The keys to success are really quite simple. Nothing here is necessarily that complicated—be patient, be polite, build discipline, and work hard.
But often times, it’s a lot easier said than done. We can give you all of the advice in the world, but the rest is up to you. It’s your job to use it.
If you’ve enjoyed this post by Ed Latimore, you can sign up for more life lessons like this on his email list. Take care, guys!