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Diary of a made man

The Concept of the Made Man

by Ian Balina

A year ago


“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.” – Nietzsche

The first thing you’re probably wondering is, why am I using the term Made Man? Isn’t that a mafia term?

Yes and no. Yes, it’s a concept used by the mafia, however, it’s a concept that can be applied to a personal transformation.

Another dictionary definition for Made Man is “a man whose success in life is assured”.

The reason I love the concept of a Made Man is because it symbolizes a transformation of the state of being and explains the “why” in regards to suffering in life. It’s the journey that takes us through good times and bad, with both failure and success, but at the end of the journey, once you become a Made Man, you can look back and find meaning in the suffering you had to go through to get there.

Think about it like this; think of any game you’ve ever played, whether it’s something simple like Angry Birds or something more complex like Legend of Zelda. At the beginning, everything starts out easy but as you progress through each level, the game gets harder. Then, at the very end a challenge you’ve never faced awaits you – the final boss. But everything you’ve learned from level one till then has made you a smarter player, and has molded you to be well equipped to defeat this last obstacle and complete the game.

The Made Man isn’t something that just happens, it’s a title you earn. The precious glory that awaits you at the end is the result of all the hard work you did in the past. Mafia and mobsters were called Made Men because they didn’t follow the easy path, they didn’t play it safe or follow all the rules. It was frowned upon because that wasn’t the norm. Reality isn’t outlined by a book of rules; sometimes you got have to hustle. Or to use a video game example, sometimes you have to cheat past a level. Maybe you find a certain glitch in the game, or a certain move the computer can’t handle, and you shamelessly use it to get past the level. No one ever made it to the top without breaking a few rules along the way or utilizing a few real-life cheat codes.

I’m 28 years old, and black. According to society, those two variables alone don’t have a great outlook on becoming a success. They’re very few successful examples of young black men. Good thing I didn’t care to let the statistics affect me or else I’d still be trapped in the Matrix. Let’s be honest, most people sell themselves short. You hear people say, “I am a product of my environment.” It’s true, we can’t choose where we grow up but we can choose the amount of will-power we exert towards overcoming our environment.  According to society, at best I should have just had an average or mediocre life. Although I overcame the odds, the same cannot be said for some of my friends from my childhood. Some were unfortunate to not make it; the final bosses on certain levels were too much for them to handle.

I consider myself a success because although I wasn’t the smartest student in college, I became a success. I get to travel the world, work for a Fortune 20 company (where I primarily work from home) and made over $200,000 last year. I’ve made over $100,000 the last three years in a row. There were so many obstacles throughout my journey that one slip up and I would not be where I am today. But I am. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no millionaire (yet) nor am I bragging but there are very few young black males that are in my position. I had more hurdles than a race track, and I still made it. The social stereotypes and system were not created to favor me, I lacked the privilege. Regardless, I found glitches in the matrix, became a renegade, and paved my own path.

I want to share my story to inspire and have you believe that achieving greatness isn’t a myth. We all can do it. This isn’t another stereotypical “Highly successful black male urging black people to succeed” kind of book. Think of this as the website with cheat codes the video game creators don’t want you to read. This is the website that walks you through each level of the matrix that we live in, showing you how to overcome each obstacle thrown your way. I’ll tell you about the strengths and weaknesses of those final bosses, so you can get past whatever level you’re stuck on. Sometimes handling problems using the politically correct way, and sometimes getting a little dirty and utilizing real life cheat codes to hack the system.

Think to yourself, what’s holding you back?

Why are you still struggling with school? Why are you stuck in a mediocre job that doesn’t pay you enough? Why haven’t you achieved greatness yet? Made Men aren’t perfect human beings and definitely weren’t inspired every single day to work towards their goals, but you know what? They did anyways. You’ll be discouraged, tired, stumped or just downright lazy, it’s okay. We’re humans. But that extra push can make all the difference. Next time you feel like giving up, that means you need to keep on going, even if you achieve something little, it’s better than the other option – nothing. It’s time for you to hear my story, and after this, I hope that you feel inspired enough to hustle to greatness!

“Ask yourself whether the dream of heaven and greatness should be left waiting for us in our graves-or whether it should be ours here and now and on this earth.” ― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

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