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Designing the Superior Man: 15 Powerful Qualities (Part 1)

Designing the Superior Man: 15 Powerful Qualities (Part 1)

This is Part One (of Three) describing 15 qualities of the ideal man. Each part will discuss 5 key qualities to embrace in order to design the superior man.

As a father to a beautiful two-year-old girl and a husband to an amazing woman, I am constantly seeking out ways to improve myself. There are a number of books and articles describing how to be a better man, however, there is one book that stands above the rest as the guide to being the ideal man or a Randian Hero – this book is The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

In this fantastic novel, Howard Roark is the hero. He is a brilliant and innovative architect who never compromises or deviates from his principles. Just as a man similar to Roark in today’s society, he is criticized and persecuted by people who are willing to compromise personal integrity. Where Roark does not attempt to influence people, his enemies practice the art of manipulation and use their ability to control the weak. These people represent the parasites of the world and they exist all around us.

In order to be a better man, we can use Roark as our example of what every man should strive to become. Using examples from The Fountainhead and similar books, we can identify key traits of superior men. Here are the first five qualities of the ideal man.

1. Squash the Parasite

“No man can give another the capacity to think.” – Ayn Rand

Superior men move the world forward. Nothing is given to them, they ferociously work for everything they have. Ayn Rand described two types of men: those who survive by the independent work of his own mind or as a parasite fed by the minds of others. Strong men do not need others, where a parasite needs others and feeds off them like a leech.

Parasites fear strong and powerful men. They will never confront you but will use manipulation tactics to attack you behind your back. I work with a large number of them and have been attacked by multiple. These parasites feel entitled and push their work off on others, yet, still attempt to take credit.

I am a leader under attack in my organization. Those parasites I work with are peers and others in superior rank. I am not afraid to confront them. When I do, they use tactics you would expect from a cockroach. Recently, I had a couple of them use these tactics in an attempt to remove me from my post.

2. Start Counting When it Hurts

“I only start counting when it starts hurting, when I feel pain, that’s when I start counting, cause that’s when it really counts.” – Muhammed Ali

This quote was in response to a question directed at Muhammed Ali when he was asked how many sit-ups he could do. He provided the perfect response!

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Superior men are black belts in the mind and body. They do not fear to attempt new things, even if those things leave them feeling awkward or embarrassed. These elite men are not afraid to enter the arena and do not start thinking about success until it hurts.

One of our greatest leaders once said, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who at best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” – Theodore Roosevelt (excerpt from Daring Greatly by Brene Brown)

3. Stop Caring

“Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings, and emotions.” – Will Smith

You can interpret #3 in two ways: stop caring about anything and give up, or you can use the correct interpretation and stop caring so much about what other people think of you.

Superior men take control of their life. It is an amazing feeling when you simply stop caring about what other people think. Start eliminating things in your life that do not matter, that add no value. Focus only on the things and people that add value to your life. In fact, immediately stop communicating with people who add no value, purposely ignore these parasites who try to bring you down. Be candid with these people if you do have to acknowledge them. If they ask you a question or confront you (in person, on the phone, or electronically) either ignore them or provide a simple response, regardless of the intent of the conversation – “No” – this is the perfect response.

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4. Fight For and Defend Your Family

“The first rule about fight club is you don’t talk about fight club… The second rule about fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.” – Chuck Palahniuk

Just to be clear, I am not advocating the reenactment of the movie Fight Club (as fun as that might be), however, you must know how to fight and defend yourself. You do not have to become the next Jean-Claude Van Damme or Bruce Lee, but you must know enough to protect those you love. A man who cannot physically defend his family is not a man. That comment may rub some of you the wrong way, but I don’t care (see #3 and #5).

If your wife or daughter were in danger, could you live with yourself if you failed to defend them? Even if you attempted to defend them, could you? If you answered “No” then you need to man up and start training.

Women desire a man who is confident and not afraid to kick the crap out of someone if needed. They want a man who will defend them and treat them with respect. The ultimate man will fight for his wife and family when needed, yet treat his wife with the chivalrous respect she deserves… rewards will come!

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Piss People Off

“The secret to success is to offend the greatest number of people.” – George Bernard Shaw

Strong and confident men have a profound impact on people. They project confidence through their appearance, the way they speak their mind, and through bold innovations. Confident people propel the world forward. These people are also not afraid to piss people off. These men are assertive, candid, and they take risks.

High performing men are not afraid to break the rules… after all, rules are put into place so we can work around them. By possessing an unlimited confidence and not caring about pleasing other people, these men live for their own success. They do not allow or wait for other people to determine their success – if that means pissing people off on their way up, then so be it.

Featured photo credit: IMDB via imdb.com

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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