Tag Archives: gentleman

The Company You Keep

Be conscious of your associations.  Rightly or wrongly, people will judge you by the company you keep.

If you have worked to build in others a confidence in your integrity, your abilities, your understanding, and your kindness, be careful not to damage that confidence through the absentminded or indiscriminate interaction with or association to those that might not themselves demonstrate the same concern and diligence you have cared enough to cultivate.

Such dubious associations need not be confined to the material world to foment pernicious or even devastating repercussions.  In this age of instantaneous virtual interaction, in the eyes of many, if it’s on the Internet, it MUST be true.  We now live in a world where, to one degree or another, everyone finds themselves in a glaring spotlight.

Even the very best work you do will no doubt be questioned by some, challenged or outright discredited by others, based in no small part on the associations you have or the attendant views you advance.  Don’t give the cynics and naysayers more fuel for their spiteful fires by handing over to them the very materials which they will use to immolate you.

The most universally regarded currency we share in our relationships with others, whether they be close at hand or half-way around the world, is the reputation that precedes us.  Our credibility is both our cachet and our cash; if your credibility is important to you, you would be wise to guard it jealously.  Nothing is worth a needless and easily avoidable aspersion to one’s good name.

It is never in poor form to take the high road.  It is never questionable to demonstrate manners and decorum.  It is never suspect to repudiate distractions and focus on that which matters. It is always wise to think before acting.

Remember: the world is watching.

©Billy Red Horse

Dignity

I speak often of the importance of basics. The consistent and energetic application of Life’s fundamentals are the surest way for a person to stand out among their peers, to be an example to others of what is possible, and to set the table for the personal experience of Joy, day in and day out.

Perhaps the most basic element a gentleman should seek to cultivate is a sense of personal power. The power of which I speak is evidence of Self-awareness, of Self-confidence, and of competency. A singular trait of the legitimately powerful is an abiding and unshakeable sense of dignity.

A man possessed of a genuine dignity is able to be calm in the midst of chaos, to be unfazed by the slings and arrows of antagonists, and just by his very presence is able to serve as a guiding light in a sometimes dark world.

The dignity of which I speak is unmistakable, evident whether a man is dressed in a bespoke suit, driving a miniature circus car and wearing full clown regalia, or standing naked and exposed as the day he was born. Dignity is not beholden to circumstance or to condition. This is how you recognize it whenever it is present.

Like most things in Life, dignity can be inborn or it can be cultivated. It should be reassuring that the latter is far more common than the former. How, then, do we generate and sustain this Magical capacity?

Competency and confidence are essential. Those who would deflect their own dignity are apt to point out that they are imperfect and, perhaps, beneath a deserved dignity. Fortunately, dignity has no need of perfection. In fact, it is in the acceptance of one’s imperfection where dignity can find its most fertile soil for growth. Discarding the fruitless pursuit of perfection frees one to focus on the real and achievable work at hand. Be honest in one’s assessment of oneSelf and one’s limitations and strengths. Get better every day. This is how it’s done.

Which comes first, dignity or competency and confidence? The equation is not linear but is circular. They each build one upon the other.

I can say much more on this and, at some point, I shall. For now, this is enough to be getting on with. In the meantime, nurture your own dignity, demonstrate it in your Life for all to see. Let it be such that strangers will address you and say, “I don’t know what it is you’ve got, all I know is that I want it!”

©Billy Red Horse

The High Cost Of Living

(This article was originally published in January of 2008)

The new year bears down upon us.  It is a Time to swear penance for that extra 10 pounds we added to our already stressed frames over the holidays, a Time to review the year that has passed and to look forward to all the positive changes we intend to initiate in the coming 12 months.  Should we be brutally honest with ourselves, though (a skill so few seem to possess in this day and age), we might find that the resolutions we are now confidently pledging to discharge are not unlike those we vowed to keep at this same Time last year.  Well, I suppose there is something to be said for consistency . . .

In a few weeks we will begin to receive the W-2 forms that allow us to accurately calculate the amount of tax we owe our feudal masters and, come late January, the mailman will deliver to us the stacks of credit card bills which are evidence certain of December’s feckless orgy of conspicuous consumption.  You had promised to curtail your spending, to buy fewer things for fewer people.  You may even have succeeded in doing just that.  But them prices, they are a risin’.  Witness the automobile that not so very long ago required a mere $17 in gasoline which now demands $50 to see the little indicator needle hover near the FULL side of the gauge.  That which once was is no more.

There is one area, however, where the prices never rise and never fall, but where the cost has always been consistently the highest that can be paid.  In this province it is not possible to negotiate better terms, more favorable rates, or to in any way defer payment.

Everything you do in your Life costs you something.  Each thought, each action, each emotion, each failure or success, all of them draw from an account that is irrevocably finite and subject to sudden catastrophic ruin.  The coin of the realm of which I speak is binary in its constitution, one half being constrained at all times by a factor of 24, while the other is a bit more protean in its capacity to wax or wane.  I speak of your Time and your Life-Force Energy.

You, like every person who has ever lived, are limited to but 24 hours in a day.  In this aspect, we truly are equal, everyone.  The visionary and the vagrant, the mystic and the madman, all are bound by the same limitations of temporal fetters.  How is it that you spend your Time?  Are you aware that every second of your Life that has passed is a second you will never EVER have again?  How much of this most precious and limited asset has slipped unnoticed through your fingers as you sat idling in traffic, suffered through yet another pointless business meeting, or engaged in some meaningless activity that did absolutely nothing to feed your soul?  Time is the one resource of which you have only so much and you can never know just how much it is that you will have.  How many more days can you claim with any certainty are at your disposal?

Every activity you undertake requires of you Time; just how much is your Time worth to you?

If Time is the “when” of human existence, then Life-Force Energy is the “how.”  This antipodal face of the two-sided coin is the Energy that motivates you, that quickens you, that sustains you, that IS you.

As with Time, a portion of your Life-Force is demanded against all that you do.  Whether an intentional expression of Beauty or a thoughtless act of anger, your personal account will be debited immediately and without consideration.  Depending on the act, you may pay up front and only once, or you may find yourself making installments for years to come.

Fortunately, and quite unlike Time, your Life-Force can be replenished, not only in quantity, but in quality, as well.  You can increase the level of your “funding” by taking care to consume only healthy food and drink, avoiding ingestion of substances that can damage the body and mind, exercising, resting, meditating, praying, by divesting yourself of as much negativity as possible and by developing a mindfulness for and about the way you live your Life.  Paradoxically, the more you engage in conscious acts that bring joy to your soul, the more likely is your store of this Energy to accrue rather than diminish.

Learn how not to give away needlessly your Energy to others and do not permit people or circumstances to drain it from you.  Don’t pay more than you must and don’t squander what you have.  Use wisely your resources and learn to invest rather than spend.

It is your responsibility to determine if what you are doing at any given moment is worth the incredible cost demanded of you.  When you tally the price you must always be willing to ask yourself, “Is this really how I wish to spend my Life?”

©Billy Red Horse

Mob Or Me?

With each passing day our society becomes ever more homogeneous.  This continues to happen because of the diminishing value placed on the individual.  Those in positions of authority, the elected and the influencers, the mandarins and the mass market industrialists who masquerade as capitalists, each share the same preferences: they like predictable, measurable, and controllable.  Consequently, everyone is expected to fit in and follow, to conform and consume, to comply or suffer that greatest of indignities – the shame of being ostracized and labeled a dissenter.

The puissant take our inherent desire to be a valued member of the tribe and twist it in the extreme, turning a great strength into a corrosive weakness.  Our legitimate interconnectedness with one another and with Nature is corrupted into something most un-natural.  “We know what’s best for you,” they suggest.  And while few of these overseers are ever so bold as to express the sentiment explicitly, the undercurrent of their implication is clear: “We want you to do what WE want you to do; don’t you understand that you are too stupid to know or do any better for yourselves?”

It is a sad verity that we have long since become interchangeable and easily replaceable cogs in a soulless machine.  It should come as no surprise that the politicos and the plutocrats find this very much to their liking.  But it does not have to remain this way.

It has long been said that our greatest challenge and our greatest reward are both experienced through knowing the Self.  Self-awareness, Self-inquiry, Self-understanding, Self-acceptance, and Self-refinement, these are the marks of the courageous spirit not willing to be counted among the untold faceless.

The Self-aware seek to discover who they are and to experience the fullness of Life – the joys and the hardships and all points in between.  These individuals strive to be at ease not only within themselves but also among the collective.  Those who are confident and comfortable in their sovereignty as an individual are those who make the powerbrokers and the mob most anxious and uncomfortable.

The greatest act of rebellion is to proclaim “This is who I am!  This is me!”

Who are you?…

©Billy Red Horse