I’m a big believer in the idea that your attitude shapes your life and the world around you. Perception is, in a very real way, the filter through which we interact with the world, and we can choose how to perceive it. Choose the right outlook and the right beliefs and the world will provide you with what you’re looking for — precisely because you’re looking for it. And when you have a growth mindset, you’ll find that there are lessons for you that can help guide and shape your life wherever you look.
Grant Morrison describes this as a form of chaos magick — choosing the beliefs that provide you with the best, measurable results, regardless of whether it’s “real” or something you can “prove”. Arden Leigh refers to this as hacking your confirmation bias — using your own psychological biases to help you find the results you want, instead of letting your own negativity bias drag you down. Bruce Lee’s version of this was to “absorb what is useful, discard what is useless.”
But regardless of what you call it or how you choose to approach it, the truth is that you can find guidance and inspiration in the most unlikely places when you look for it. This can be incredibly important, especially in this day and age when things feel chaotic and out of control. Knowing that you can find the guidance you need, when you choose to look for it, can be a valuable skill to develop.
It’s with this approach in mind that I want to talk about what you can learn from the reality show competition Forged In Fire.
Now it can seem odd to look to a television show about blacksmithing and forging knives for lessons on manhood and masculinity. After all, it seems fairly straight forward: four bladesmiths compete in three elimination rounds of timed knife-making, with the winning contestant earning a prize of $10,000. But — as with many TV shows and movies, the take-aways often sit just below the surface, informing what we see on screen. And, just as importantly, having concrete examples that we can look to can help us understand concepts that might otherwise seem too abstract or confusing.
So let’s look at what Forged in Fire can teach about what it means to be a man.