The Appearance or Power
April 6, 2020 Comments Off on The Appearance or Power Living Well Tom Burden

Feel like you’re ignored a lot? Put in extra hours at work, only to have others advance, even if they put in half the work you did? Do people not take you seriously? Overlooked? Underappreciated?

The common responses to these questions tends to lay the blame on others. That schmuck Bill got promoted because he kisses ass. You’re overlooked because your boss is an ass. And all those people outside of work, well, they can just kiss your ass. Of course, it’s all on them.

Except, hear me out here, maybe it’s you. I know, I know, you put in the time and effort, it must be their fault they don’t see it. But, humor me a moment, what if it’s not them? Just, what if? After all, you are the constant variable. It could be that all those others in your life are all on some spectrum of ass, or, maybe it’s you.

You put in the work. In your job, in your relationships, in your family, and yet… here you are. At this very moment you’re at a crossroads. Three paths lay before you. One is the road you’ve been traveling, the road that’s taking you nowhere, and causing you nothing be suffering. You always have the option to continue down that path, or course. It’s an easy path, you know it, and you’re familiar with it. It’s safe, comfortable. It sucks big hairy balls, and ultimately goes nowhere, but it’s the safe road.

What about those other two roads? Is there a better life down one of them? Perhaps. It depends entirely on you. One road is a little obvious. If everyone in your life suck ass, then there’s an obvious fix to your problem – get rid of all of them. Quit your job, dumb your friends (they suck, so who cares?). Walk away from your family. Completely step out of your life, and start an entirely new one. New city, new friends, maybe you’ll marry and get a new family. But in-laws tend to suck, so may not be much of an improvement.

But what if you could make one change, one difference in your life, instead of a complete and drastic overhaul. There is that last road, the other one sitting there waiting for you to travel down it. One that will take some courage, a bit of effort, and will involve a fair amount of stumbling before you get your footing. But I’m here with you. Let’s take a look at this road a bit. The road of Presence.

I know, we’re in the modern world, and how you look isn’t supposed to matter anymore. Women say it all the time. They lied. They’re not looking for a guy with a small penis, either. I know, shocking. Fact is, while society may try, sometimes desperately and against all logic, to make something happen, you are still a human being. You’ve had millions of years of evolution making you who and what you are. Someone’s new idea of what and who you should be doesn’t change your biology. If it did, we’d all have the same skin color. Yet, we don’t.

Fact is, how you present yourself does matter, even to people who say it doesn’t. I can go on and on with pictures from all over the internet, having you look at office slobs, guys who put little effort (or wrong effort) into their appearance, against guys who do. That is the norm. But it’s not our way. Instead, we’re looking at the experts, the masters of the field. No, not fashion models. Not celebrities. Hollywood. Not the stars, but the one’s behind the scenes. Hollywood studios spend a considerable amount of time, energy, and money crafting the image of their actors in films, even on stage. Color palettes, fabrics, fit, form, shape – all are considered when dressing an actor for a part. And that’s just for a guy in a suit. Think about it, when was the last time you saw a super hero dressed like crap fighting crime? Even when they’re in leisure wear, out for a run, they’re dressed for presence. Not just the clothes, but the hair, the stance, the amount of dampness the shirt will have. All of it crafted to create an image, one that is conveyed to you, and accepted readily. It’s not forced, not shoved down your throat that you must like it. Hollywood has tried that, it always fails. But, when they play to your innate sense, it works. Works so well, you forget that someone spent hours deciding just what the actor would wear, and how. Even so much as to forget, that’s an actor.

And they do it the other way, too. Admit it, honestly, how did you feel about Fat Thor? He was just a little overweight, in normal clothes. Most people has a visceral response to seeing him being normal on the screen. Be honest, how did you feel about it?

Now, let me ask you, what makes you any different? There are rules to presence, to how you present yourself. They apply to everyone, even you. Maybe you need a little more convincing. Let’s look at a man who gets it, and gets it well. How many champion mixed martial artists do you think have been on the cover of GQ? Surprisingly few. But, there is one man who not only could clean your clock, covered in tattoos, but knows how to present himself out of the ring. Connor McGregor. Connor is an odd sort, really. Not only has he actually been on the GQ cover, but he’s not as large of a man as you might think. Standing at 5’9” (175 cm) some might consider him small. He is, after all, average height for a male in the US. He’s above average height for an Irish male. And he owns every inch of it. He knows how to wear his clothes, how to stand and present himself even how to sit back and relax. (He’s a champion fighter, we’ll overlook the square toed shoes… for now)

What does this mean to you? Should you go out and get a double breasted three piece suit? Only if you want to look like an idiot. You should first master casual wear, we’ll get to the suits and high end accessories later. Start with the basics.

When it comes to style, many men are lost in the sea of color and cloth. Your first real step into this world needs to be guided, not hap hazard. That will only lead you to frustration and failure. We want to succeed, to bring up our presence game to the level is should be – needs to be. So while we could get into fit, fabric, function, and all that – even digging into the difference between style and fashion (that’s for another time), first we need to cover a much more important topic that most overlook. WHAT and WHY. WHAT are you wanting to convey with your appearance? Do you want people to look at you as a man with influence and resources? How you present yourself is all about influence, so how do you want to influence others? And the all-important question, WHY do you want to change how others perceive you? Not the simple answer of “I want to change” or “I want people to notice me.” Why? Why do you want it? And What do you want to get from it? What is the ultimate goal? The answer to these questions will set your course, and guide you in the next steps.

This is a big journey you are about to take. Take it slowly. Don’t rush out and buy an entire new wardrobe, start small as you find your way. Learn how to wear a shirt, because it’s more than just putting one on. Get a few of your best shirts tailored, buy one or two new ones that actually fit right. Spend some time to learn what a proper fit actually means. And at some point, we’re probably going to need to talk about your shoes…

How you present yourself is your message to the world. It tells people who you are, and how they should interact with you. Are you sending the message that you’re a doormat, or that you are someone of importance, of resources, or skill? Are you telling the world you exist, or are you telling the world you exist with purpose? If you are in doubt, just look as how the world responds to your message and you’ll know.

About The Author
Tom Burden Tom Burden is a father & husband, martial artist, author, sexual advocate, male advocate and female advocate, and a trained conservation biologist. He is the founder of Reclaimed Masculinity, and co-founder of Central Aikido and Seishinkan Iaido Warrensburg, as well as other business enterprises. He is a longtime student of somatic and embodiment practices, with deep study into the mind, the human body, spirituality, and the environment. He currently resides in Missouri with his wife and daughter.