Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Manly Friendship

Hi everyone,

I've been wanting to do a post about friendship for quite some time now. This post isn't just about friendship but manly friendships and their importance. I was sitting down a few nights ago in my apartment discussing the importance of manly friendships with 6 other guys that I go to school with. We all stayed up talking late into the night.

It wasn't what most would assume to be a "typical" conversation between a bunch of college guys, but I think it should start being a more typical conversation among young men today.

Manly friends = guys that you're friends with that encourage moral flourishing.  

Here's why manly friendships are good: 

Accountability: having guy friends that are focused on common goals is very important. Getting comfortable in life doesn't call for relaxing goals or morals. Manly men should always aim to be the best brothers, husbands, fathers, and sons they can be and having other guys around who are also dedicated to those goals is important in maintaining them.

Loyalty: An Art of Manliness article made me realize that I am still best friends with some of the guys I met in elementary school. We have changed growing up but we still hang out whenever we are both home. Manly friendships create a loyalty that is demonstrated through a bond that does not seem to break even with a lack of communication. Manly friends are loyal to one another, always there to help each other in times of need, and are loyal to each others families.

Sharpening: Not only do manly friendships keep us accountable and loyal to our friends but they make us better men. Manly friendships force healthy competition towards doing the right thing and being the best at something. With men focused on good and morally right things, they can only gain in a friendship with another man. Our friends should encourage us to be better brothers, fathers, and husband someday too.

Guy Stuff: every guy needs to hang with the fellas once in a while. Whether that means having a guys poker night, working out with a buddy, or doing an explorative outdoor activity - all men need other men to do manly things with. Guys enjoy testing their strength while competing with a friend. So doing guy stuff can be stress-relieving, health building, and just all around fun.

The best manly friendships are found in the few close friendships rather than a ton of "okay" friendships. 

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Review of Mansfield's Book of Manly Men

Hi everyone,

I hope you enjoyed my action plan from the previous Thanks-GIF-ing post. Unfortunately I didn't capture many pictures of the day as I was more focused on spending quality time with the family!

In other news, go check out the book review I wrote for Reading Teen! It's a blog that writes reviews on young adult literature. I wrote a review for them on Mansfield's Book of Manly Men. It's a book that does a great job defining manly virtues and manly maxims.

Check out my review here: 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

11-Point Plan of Thanks-GIF-ing

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I am especially in the mood to share fun note. Every thanksgiving people take to the dinner tables and pronounce how thankful they are for food, family, and friends. For some people this is the only time they ever say aloud what they are thankful for. I'll have a more serious post soon on the importance of thankfulness with manliness.

But to get into the Thanksgiving spirit, I've laid out my action plan for Thanksgiving tomorrow! 
(With the help of GIFs)

1. Wake up nice and early at 6am to depart upstate New York with the parents in order to travel to Grandmas house.

2. Arrive at g-ma's house around 12pm assuming all goes as planned.

3. Re-unite with family with a few awkward hugs.

4. Annoy family members by bickering with my older brother until food is ready.

5. Sit down at the table and pray over the food before digging in.

6. Commence food consumption.

7. Allow food overload and attempt telling g-ma that you've had enough.

8. Finish dinner with good family conversation and of course, make sure to have DESSERT. 

9. Move to the couch, Put on a football game, and allow food coma if necessary.

10. Get more food and play with the niece & nephew.

11. Thank g-ma for the meal, thank everyone for coming, and thank God for having the opportunity to be so well nourished with such amazing family. 

This is the action plan for tomorrow's Thanksgiving, brought to you by GIFs. Stay tuned to see how it actually goes down. I'll try to document with as many pictures as possible.

More posts actually pertaining to music and manliness to come! Happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Cardinal Virtues

Over the past several weeks I have posted about the four Cardinal Virtues from classical antiquity. I have offered practical ways to go about practicing each virtue and I have written songs inspired by some of these virtues (more songs to come).

Easy access to each of the four Cardinal Virtues I discussed:

Next I'll be taking a closer look on other manly characteristics, values, and virtues that I believe a real man should have. I will finish writing the songs for the above virtues and then post demos of each on as soon as I am done being sick. Unfortunately, I have been quite ill for some time which has prevented my singing. The goal is to "keep on keepin' on." Stay tuned!




This post is dedicated to the manly virtue of JUSTICE.

This is the fourth & final post in the series of Cardinal Virtues that I've been working on these past few weeks. Your typical Google search will define justice as "the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness" (dictionary.reference.com). This definition may make sense but it can be difficult to gauge what justice truly is and how you should go about being just.

Many see justice to be synonymous with vengeance or revenge (which basically mean inflicting harm on someone after they have inflicted harm on you). Justice is definitely not vengeance.

Justice is basically the upholding of standards, laws, and morals- Those who uphold them will benefit and those who do not will suffer the consequences (but is this actually justice?). While this is a very broadly based definition it's important to reflect on justice on a daily basis. Here's a few practical ways a real man can act just and promote justice!

1. Be honest. A just man aims to be honest in all that he does: his work, his relationships, and his religious standing. A just man does not practice good things for an outward reward, but instead for a well-ordered soul.

2. Be a man of your word. A just man follows through with his word. When he says that he'll do something that means he will do it. A just leader will reward those under him for correctly achieving the assigned objective and punish those who do not. He will follow through and constantly maintain credibility (an example of a just leader = God).

3. Be willing to accept the consequences of your actions. While a just man will reprimand those who step out of line of the set standards, he must also be ready and willing to accept the consequences of his own actions. He knows that he is not above the law and that he will make mistakes. A just man is willing to accept the consequences of all of his actions.

These simple and somewhat obvious points may not help in truly defining justice for day to day life but this post is mainly meant to get you thinking about what justice is and how it applies to your life.

For further reading on the topic of justice, check out this article on Art of Manliness that discusses justice. It's a good one.

Something to think about:

Is justice more than just deciding whether or not to uphold standards, laws, or morals? Do personal benefits and personal suffering play a role in deciding what true justice is?

Thanks for reading!


P.S. Here are links to the other Cardinal virtues I wrote about:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


The manly virtue this week is wisdom. This is number three (of four posts) in the series of the cardinal virtues. For access to the others check out the links at the bottom. 

Here's a great moment of Allen imparting some wisdom to his sons in one of the best TV shows of all time: Boy Meets World.

Here's 5 ways manly men can consider and apply WISDOM:

1. Knowledge isn't wisdom. Many people today think that the more definitions and facts they can memorize from a textbook, the wiser they are. All of us college students experience an "all high and mighty" attitude when we come home from our sophomore year of college and aim to impress our peers and family with all the knowledge that we've gained. At least I had this attitude anyway. This is not wisdom. Knowing things is different from discerning what's right and wrong. To be wise is to be able to pick out what you should and should not do in order for you, and those around you, to flourish. Knowledge is good, but being a pompous "know it all" isn't.

2. Always aim for truth. Some of the wisest people I know do not have the "biggest" or "best" careers on earth, they don't drive the nicest cars, and some don't have college degrees or even high school diplomas. A common theme among these wise people is that they are always aiming for excellence and truth. Truth in what is objectively right and wrong, truth in the real purpose of life, and truth in how they should interact with those around them - friends and enemies alike. A wise person is not out to harm, but to help.

3. Know when to shut up. While sharing wisdom is encouraged, be sure to just shut up sometimes. Some times, someone just wants to be listened to, they don't always need your advice or (ironically) "words of wisdom." There will be times that you actually don't have the life experience to give someone advice on a specific situation, and that's okay. A wise man knows the importance of listening. Abraham Lincoln once said, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

4. Learn from the mistakes of others. My mother once told me that dumb people never learn from their mistakes, smart people do learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from other people's mistakes so ask not to make them. I believe this is true, and that men should always be looking to learn from the mistakes of those around them. Of course, this doesn't mean that you'll never make a mistake. You're human, of course you will - But there are some big "life mistakes" that you don't have to make if you just learn from those who've made them around you.

5. Share your wisdom, humbly. This point is especially for grown men. Wisdom matters, but it matters so much more if there are grown men willing to pass it down to the boys who are learning what it means to be a man. Try your best not to be condescending, but understanding. Mentor a young man in the hopes of positively impacting his life and give worthwhile advice but also be willing to learn from those who are younger than you. The first step in understanding how to impart wisdom into others is admitting to yourself that you don't have life all figured out. "Being humble" is easier said than done but if you keep a posture of humility in mind, it may be a tab easier.

Here are posts I did on the other Cardinal Virtues:


coming soon

Song about wisdom coming soon!
Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Featured artist on BTAC

Hi everyone,

I encourage you to check out a blog I was featured in. It's called Better Than a Cupcake. Here is how founder, Sydney Bellows, describes her company blog:

"Better Than A Cupcake is catered to the fashionably chic, altruistic, go-getter kind of gal. BTAC provides weekly posts featuring news on up-and-coming artists, charitable brands, D.I.Y. How-To's and fashion book reviews from the perspective of college writers across the nation!"

Here's some irony for you: I'm a manliness blog writer encouraging you to go and check out a blog "catered to the fashionably chic, altruistic, go-getter kind of gal." Don't let this stop you from checking out a growing blog with a following. 

I did this interview about a week before beginning Music & Manliness. I talked about foundational values in the field of music and it just got published so go check it out!


(Photos taken from BTAC website)

- Jake

"Courage" - Here's a song I wrote about courage.

Here's a song I wrote inspired by the manly virtue of courage.

by Jake Canull

Verse 1:
Well I'm afraid of falling
I'm not afraid to die
And I'm afraid of losing
In this game of life

I've been afraid of loving
Cuz there's so much to lose
I'm afraid of getting left behind
What if I'm not what you choose?

Well it's okay 
to make mistakes
as long as you can set them right
And it's okay 
to be afraid
as long as you're willing fight
that's courage

Verse 2:
I'm not afraid of living
Cause I know I will survive
I'm just afraid to mess up
and live a lonely life

But I will never give up
In aiming for what's right
I'm just going to stand up
And move through the fear in sight

Well it's okay 
to make mistakes
as long as you can set them right
Well it's okay 
to be afraid
as long as you're willing fight
that's courage

I need some time to breath
I feel weak in my knees
And all we, all we want
Is bravery

Well it's okay 
to make mistakes
as long as you can set them right
And it's okay 
to be afraid
as long as you're willing fight
that's courage

Demo recordings coming soon!


Friday, November 7, 2014

Courage: Music & Manliness

It's Friday, so thank God for that. My apologies for not posting a demo recording of "Just Wait" (the song I wrote last week). I've been dealing with infected tonsils, which has limited whatever ability I have to sing. Anyway, that's coming soon, along with whatever song I write inspired by courage.

This week's manly virtue is courage. Courage is also one of the four cardinal virtues of classical antiquity, and one of my favorite virtues of a real man. Courage is defined as the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without fear; bravery (dictionary.reference.com).

Somewhat opposing the above definition, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) said, "courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear." I tend to agree more with Twain's assessment of courage than that of dictionary.reference.com. Human beings are all afraid of something at some point. So yes, real men have fear. The difference between a real man and a boy (in this case "boy" refers to a grown-man-coward) is how they react to that fear, whether it be courageously or not. Courage is facing your fears. It's saying what someone needs to hear, rather than what they want to hear. It's having the guts to practice whatever good you preach. Courage is mandatory in order to be a real man.

Five ways a real man can employ courage in everyday life:

1. Have the courage to be a faithful. To be faithful is to be loyal. Whether it is being a faithful friend or being a faithful husband, father, son, or brother, it takes courage to repeatedly have someone's back through thick and thin. It takes courage to deny the temptations that disgrace faithfulness and loyalty. Be faithful to those that truly sharpen and care for you.

2. Have the courage to call someone out when mistreating another. A real man does not stand by and simply watch when someone is being mistreated physically or verbally. He stands up for those unable or unwilling to stand up for themselves even if he may compromise his own social status. He does not do it for praise but instead does it because he sees the value in protecting the goods of human life.

3. Have the courage to be vulnerable. Believe or it or not, a real man allows himself to be vulnerable. This doesn't mean constantly discussing how he "feels" about every single little thing, or taking those around him on some sort of emotional roller coaster. A real man is vulnerable by admitting his weakness, failures, and mistakes. He is not hesitant to accept the advice of those wiser than him and share his struggles with those who sharpen him. He knows that he's not defined by his mistakes, but instead what he does to make them right.

4. Have the courage to guard your senses. A real man is careful in his watching, listening, and speaking. He understands that in order to be a good man he must have the courage to disagree with and avoid watching things in order to keep his judgement sound and mind healthy. A real man has the courage to listen to those he agrees with, and those he disagrees with. A real man need not be perfect in speech to understand that the words he uses truly effect those around him. He aims to be a good role model, and conveys so, first through his actions and then through his words.

5. Have the courage to be dependable. A real man highly prioritizes dependability. It takes bravery to put himself in a position where he is depended upon. He takes seriously the roles and responsibilities that he accepts and can always be counted on, even under pressure. It takes courage to initially step up, and it takes a certain kind of courage to follow through.

C.S. Lewis said, "Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point." Virtues in themselves will not hold without the bravery to uphold them when facing adversity.

The courage of a real man is not something he is born with, but instead it is something he develops.
Art of Manliness (www.artofmanliness.com) has some great posts on manly courage, one of my favorites is listed below. I recommend you go check it out for more insight on manly courage:

This article discusses the different types of courage that exist (physical, intellectual, and moral) and how to develop each of them.

I hope this can get men thinking about what it means to be a man with courage so that when the time comes to do something courageous, you will be prepared.

It's taking me a little longer to develop the right song for this one.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

"Just Wait" - Song about temperance

Here's the song I wrote inspired by temperance!

Just Wait
by Jake Canull

Tell me, tell me who do you want to be
Thats what an old man once said to me
I told him, told him I wanna be the best
I want take 1st place, you recognize my face from all the rest

Then he asked how I measured success
I said only money can buy the best
And then I asked him what made him happy
He pulled out a picture of his family

He said he used to be just like me
Moving faster than he could see
So then he asked me one more time
Who do you truly want to be?

I said I just want to want to say
Words I can live by every day
To be the man I said I'd be
I won't act in haste, I'll break it down with patience
And just wait

He said he made a lot of mistakes
Most of them from acting in haste
He knew that I, that I would relate
He said slow down, patience makes a good man great

He told me take a step back from life
Something to make you realize
Impulsiveness and wealth in pride
Will do nothing but blind your eyes

He said he used to be just like me
Moving faster than he could see
So then he asked me one more time
Who do you truly want to be?

I just want to want to say
Words I can live by every day
To be the man I said I'd be
I won't act in haste, I'll break it down with patience
And just wait

What does it mean to wait?
Why must it take so long?
Why must I be so weak?
You say my will is strong
How come I don't feel strong?
Why can things go so wrong?
Until faith comes along
To remind me 
To remind me 
To remind me

I just want to want to say
Words I can live by every day
To be the man I said I'd be
I won't act in haste, I'll break it down with patience
And just wait

Best & thanks for reading,


Friday, October 31, 2014

Temperance: Music & Manliness

Hi all,

Just a heads up, I do not intend for these posts to be condescending to those that have not lived up to the ideals listed. For I myself know that I have not lived up to these ideals in the past, and although I aim to, I may still fail to fully live up to them in the present. This blog is my own attempt to consider and understand the values of a real man. I can only hope to live up to these principles and virtues and I simply ask that you join me in this journey of figuring out what it means to be a real man.   

This week's virtue of manliness is temperance. Here are some of my thoughts on temperance, manliness, and music. Below is also a song I wrote last night (10/30/2014) inspired by the concept of temperance called "Just Wait."

Temperance is well known as one of the four cardinal virtues of classical antiquity and is commonly defined as self-restraint, moderation, or self-control (at least by dictionary.reference.com). A common issue among many men today is the lack of temperance, or self-control, that aids in properly balancing the soul between the appetites, spiritedness, and the mind (eros, thumos, and nous).

With today's high speed internet and technology the temperance of a man is challenged more than ever before. Pornography plagues the lives of men everywhere, giving them unrealistic views and expectations of sex in their own marriages. There is a lot of music today that depicts "real men" as being guys who can get away with lies, hook up with as many girls as possible, or who can make the most money to reach the highest surface level status.

Self-control and patience matter. They matter through the things that you do, but they matter just as much through things that you don't do. They're important for things as little as waiting in a grocery line, all the way to being a good husband or father. It's important to control little frustrations and impulses for the betterment of those around you. When getting to a point of real frustration or anger a real man steps back from the situation and doesn't explode. A real man chooses to employ temperance so much that it eventually becomes second nature. Being a real man is about making the choice to stay committed to all that you said you would stay committed to. It's about attaining the awareness to restrain yourself from the actions, feelings, and responses in life that will not make you a better father, brother, son, husband, or better man in general.

6 ways a true man employs temperance:

1. A good attitude - A man of moderation aims to balance his wants, his needs, and everything in between. He is slow to anger and not afraid to smile and even encourage laughter. A real man knows that the best way to begin any task, labor, or trial is with a good attitude.

2. Learn from mistakes - A man of self-restraint learns from other peoples mistakes, and when he does make his own mistakes (which he inevitably will), he does everything in his power to restrain himself from making them again.

3. Balance work & play - With limited time on this earthly world, a real man understands that working with discipline and appropriately tending to his craft is very important, but it's not everything. A real man can step away from the stresses of his work life and enjoy the free time he has with family and friends. He sees free/fun time as necessary and aims to be 100% present with those he is with when he is with them.

4. Be a good husband or boyfriend (relationships) - A real man pursues the woman he is in a relationship with, always. He is not overbearing and he is not possessive. He treats her with care and makes her a priority but does not not put her on a pedestal. He understands she is an individual just as he is, and knows that their relationship is a constant choice to be committed one another - not the center of the entire universe. Commitment eventually becomes second nature as well for a real man.

5. Health in food and drink - A real man knows how to eat but he does not over-indulge in unhealthy food and drink. He aims to maintain a heathy body (as the protector of his soul) and understands that personal health and fitness are necessary to living a long and productive life. He maintains a healthy body, not just for his own selfishness but for his family and loved ones to depend on as well. He is one who provides for and protects his family. A real man does not over-indulge in drinking alcohol either, for he knows the temporary buzz is just that: temporary, for it will not lead to anything worthwhile.

6. Reflection - A real man reflects on his own life and decisions often. He re-focusses himself on his own core values and identifies what he specifically needs temperance in. He does not dwell on the past but restrains himself from making poor decisions twice. He practices patience often and understands that there is an actual purpose in waiting for the greater things in life.

This real man of temperance may just be a list of ideals... We are all broken and we men will always act like boys at times. The important thing is to consider temperance in your own life. Apply it in your own life and aim to be a REAL MAN of healthy moderation. If nothing else, I hope this can get men at least thinking about and discussing what it means to be a real man and what comes along with that.

Next is the first attempt at the song I wrote while thinking about the virtue of temperance. Check it out.

- Jake