When I was younger, there was a certain male archetype that I looked up to, the alpha male. I remember as a teenager, when I was confronted with either physical or mental challenges I would always think to myself, “What would Michael Jordan do in a scenario like this? He would take charge, he would be the alpha”. While there were certain scenarios where being the alpha was certainly beneficial, believing that being alpha was always in my best interest was limiting my personal growth as a human.
Alphas are typically described as the “real men.” In contrast, there are the “beta” males who are looked at as weak and as followers. Just like the political system, breaking down something as complex as masculinity into binary, black and white buckets is a recipe for disaster. When I was younger, acting like an alpha seemed to always get me positive feedback so it got me into a routine. When playing sports or competing with other guys, taking the role of alpha would allow you to win and when you won, you would get a lot of attention and adulation.
The problem with being an alpha male is that people think that it should apply to everything in life. Life is much too complex and nuanced where people are either alpha or beta roles. In reality, everyone has both qualities within them and sometimes you are required to be alpha, while other times you should be beta. If someone is hurt and you understand the human body very well and can help, it definitely pays to be alpha in that situation. If someone is hurt, and you know nothing about healing someone and try to be the alpha of the situation, then you end up just getting in the way and being “that guy”.
I was always “that guy” growing up. I was always the smallest in my class, on my team, or pretty much in any situation and acting like the alpha was my way of establishing my position in the pecking order. Many times I was “proving” myself in situations where there was no one to prove myself to and I am sure I was a very difficult person to hang out with during that time. So how did I go from hyper-aggressive, Napoleon complex to the laid back, yet assertive man that stands before you? Cannabis!
Once I began using cannabis regularly in my life, I noticed quite a bit of change in the way I thought. I was awakened to the fact that my alpha male mentality was driven by insecurity, the exact opposite of what I thought an alpha male was. Once I realized what was really fueling my behavior, it became easier for me adjust my actions and ultimately become a much happier person. To this day, especially in the Silicon Valley, when I am speaking with other entrepreneurs and have to listen to them talk about how great they are and how big their next project is going to be, it just reminds me of my outdated, primitive primate thinking process. I am very appreciative of how cannabis expanded my thinking so I could realize that being beta is necessarily not weak and being alpha is not necessarily strong.
Since this is election year, I wanted to use this as an example of how looking at life through a black and white filter doesn’t result in positive results. What if you are a democrat that likes guns? What if you are a republican that is Pro Choice? Life is not that simple, life is more nuanced, life takes critical thinking to fully enjoy and understand. This election year, don’t be an alpha male, be a well rounded, critically thinking individual. We are living in a time where information can be easily shared and not hoarded by the elite, and now that we have this information, let’s do something about it. Realize the strength you can summon when you aren’t trying to be the alpha male.