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Tyler Durden

It all started when I was 16. An idea planted its seed in the fertile soil of a young man's emerging ambitions, one that would blossom and thrive in the alien, hostile environments he would be subjected to. After returning from a month in Texas, I watched the movie Fight Club, starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt. In the film, the nameleas Narrator, fed up with his void, shallow life of consumerism and corporate slavery, meets the enigmatic Tyler Durden, an anarchistic loner, survivalist, minimalist, and charismatic leader. As I was vaguely aware of graduation looming over me at the time like an executioner's guillotine, I was faced with the startling realization that I had no idea what to do with my life. Directionless and aimless as I was, one thing I knew for sure was that I would rather die then becoming subject to the servitude and creativity killing delirium of the Rat Race. Thus, I became enthralled with the character of Tyler Durden. I wanted to be fit and strong, articulate and intelligent, and boldly purposeful. Which brings us to modern day. Although I am in no danger of making napalm in my barracks room or starting a full scale societal revolution, the example set for me by the character in my youth still shadows everything I do, having, by sheer force of will and action, become a part of me. Several virtues and pastimes were ingrained in me by following this example, which I will now discuss and share with you.

Fitness- This is the lynchpin on which everything in my life is based. I grew up with an awareness of the effect a powerfully developed physique had on people. My Father  was a bodybuilder and powerlifter, my Uncles were powerlifters and runners, and every male in my family worked a physically taxing job. Seeing Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden, specifically the reaction his body illicited from women, stoked the flames of my drive to sculpt my muscles to a similar level. I began with the basics; pushups and running. I had always been athletic as a fighter, but as a teenager my physique was woefully underdeveloped. My basic workouts soon took on structure, and a regime emerged gradually from the juvenile chaos I inflicted on myself. Running endless miles was eventually replaced with sprinting in short, intense bursts of effort. Weights, the tools of my forebearers, were eschewed in favor of calisthenics. Incrimentally I moved away from the bodybuilders of the 80's, juiced to the gills as they were, and embraced the knowledge, training styles, and dietary habits of their precursors. John Grimek, Steve Reeves, Marvin Eder, Bob Jones, Professor Paulinetti, Roy Hillingen, Arthur Saxon and Doug Hepburn were just a few of the names that claimed permanent residence in my mind, their only rent being perpetual inspiration and the continual renewal of my passion for training. This journey began after having my heart caved in for the first time at 18. Nearly 7 years and over 40 pounds of muscle later, I think Ive succeeded. My physique has earned me masculine adoration, feminine companionship and lust, and a world of knowledge. I sound arrogant because in a sense I am. I was never the kid with ILS, strutting around as if he were the largest man in the gym. Anytime my ego has overpowered my better judgement and taken the reins of my sentience, it's been beaten back by the force of wiser men or the belittling of women that were out of my league. Im thankful for each experience, because, rather then being consumed by it like a mudslide, I harnessed and hardened it into brick to boost me, to allow me to continue unimpeded on my ascension to the pinnacle of my potential. Im confident because Ive earned every ounce of it in blood and force,  whether against external resistance or overcoming that which resided within. This is the gift the weight room and hard calisthenics training has given me. The adage is cliche, but what you rage against is what you overcome, and the tools you train with daily are what you come to resemble in body, mind and spirit. So strain purposefully against all weight, whether it's a bar deeply rooted to the floor or your own body, shoulders and arms shaking violently to press you while inverse. The average guy my age is sickly, frail and effeminate, running from conflict and trial, pursuing a life of unearned privilege. Meanwhile, hordes of women, supposedly the weaker sex, are filling gyms across the world. The result is males with the bodies of the undernourished taking attitude with women that resemble valkyries and gladiatrixes for their openly displayed disdain for the "men" they're presented with. I dont mind though. In a world where obesity has ceased to be a pandemic and has instead entered the echelons of acceptance, fit women, particularly those that squat, outnumber fit, strong men. If you so happen to be lean, hard and Spartan, you have your pick, provided you can hold a conversation. So, in short, hit the weights. Or dont. More for me and my bretheren.

Minimalism- Inbetween pulling into Dubai and Bahrain, we would endure long stretches at sea. These ran the gamut from a month to 6.5 weeks at the longest. They were insufferably monotonous and practically guaranteed bouts of cabin fever. However, they had one outstanding benefit; Large amounts of stacked cash. It wasn't farfetched to hit land with over 1.5K in your account. We all like to wax poetically about financial responsibility, especially yours truly, but in these instances we were all guilty. It was as if the moment our feet hit foreign soil, our bank accounts were irreperably punctured, causing money to be leaked into gleefully greedy Arabic hands at an exponential rate. Especially when you consider the fact that their currency was superior to ours in the markets of the world, you had a recipe for light pockets. I once spent nearly $200 USD in one day on 3 exorbitantly expensive, but outlandishly delectable, steak dinners. Suffice to say, when we left, our respective accounts were as empty as the stomach of a pauper. I mention these because, while they seem excessive, these excursions matched the tone of deployment, which was anything but normal. Once I returned to America, I had become reacquainted with the idea of Minimalism, a lifestyle choice similar to Smallball poker. Minimum investment for maximum payout. Echoing the lessons gleaned from Fight Club, it is the best way for a young man to live. The Narrator and Tyler exist in a stark contrast to each other. The Narrator is a textbook consumer, amassing an extensive array of useless trinkets inside an inordantely expensive condominium. At one point he opens his refrigerator, lamenting that he has "a fridge full of condiments and no food". It serves as a metaphor for his life, all style and no substance, all flash and no faith. It's this that draws him to Tyler, who, inspite of living in abject poverty, is everything the Narrator aspires to be. In impeccable shape, effortlessly charming to women, a self-reliant individualist, and kind of black market entrepreneur, he is the Narrator's antithesis. He squats in an abandoned house in the industrial portion of the city, subsisting on cheap beer and cigarrettes, reading pulpy art house novels and plotting the fall of modern society is his Luddite visions. In eschewing all but the basics, he's achieved freedom. This is an important lesson for young men. While Im not recommending living in a condemned property illegally or stealing liquid fat from dumpsters to craft soap, you will be alot happier if you forsake the trappings of a consumerist society. Drive an old car, use a basic cellphone, and live simply. You dont need 100 different machines to get in shape, these only hinder you. All you need is your body and a barbell. Cut expenses pragmatically and in a focused manner. Save that money and invest it. That way, when you have the opportunity to do something great or experience something novel and new, youll have a surplus of cash. It will be ready to serve you faithfully, rather than being consigned, constrained and strangled, tied up by bills and debt.

Self-Reliance- This virtue has been beaten into me by reality ad nauseum, and Im eternally grateful. Make no mistake, you are on your own in this world. God is on your side, and your family will always be there for you, but if youre lazy and unwilling to haul your own fair share of life's burdens, you will cease to matter. Love is unconditional in very few cases, as it should be. The needy, the weak, and the slovenly have no place in the world of adult men and women. If you dont perform adequately at work, you will be fired. If you dont take care of and maintain your health into old age, your body will fail you. If you dont interact with others with a general sense of social grace, you will be shunned. It's Darwinism at its finest, and a dark blessing, as it renders reality untouched by the political correctness currently permeating it fatally. The average person on the street has their best interest at heart, and would fuck you over at the slightest provocation. Therefore, put yourself first in all aspects and be selfish. Tyler disregards society's nonsense, relying on his insticts, strength and intelligence. Similarly, put your faith in God and God alone, and trust what He's endowed you with. Educate yourself freely from the collegiate system, build your body outside of overpriced, overhyped "luxury" gyms, and seek enlightenment and meaning, which is found in bouts of introspection, not in a mail in catalogue or stalking a mall, credit card unsheathed.

In closing, these three ideals have molded me into who I am today. Following them should be the main priority of any young man seeking to make his way in today's backwards world. Embrace your masculinity, allowing it to envelop you like armor. Strengthen and immerse yourself in almost cataclysmic endeavors. You will survive and ultimately thrive, your mind and body becoming one, sharp as a rapier and dense as the mighty Earth. Do not sully yourself with vanities and luxuries, lest they transform you into dainty, listless shadow of your former self. Instead, destroy those shades with the all encompassing light of your full, realized potential. Dont saddle yourself with debt. Live simply and purposefully, making God, education, and fitness the Triad of your existence. Do this and I promise youll grow physically robust, incredibly knowledgeable, and financially prosperous. Lastly, answer to you and only to you. Rely on no one but the man staring you in the mirror each morning. Afraid of your car breaking down? Teach yourself basic auto mechanics. If I can learn and master it, anyone can. Always keep an open mind, for readily applicable wisdom can be found in the most unlikely places. Hell, sometimes you may find something more scintillating to go along with it, like a naked Helena Bonham Carter. Keep moving incessantly, and never stop.

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