So there are all sorts of crazy niche men’s lifestyles out there. I recently found new one called the Straight Edge lifestyle.
It’s not crazy. It’s not extreme. It’s simple.
And I recommend it. First off, here’s what it is…
What is a Straight Edge Lifestyle?
It’s simple. It means you have committed to the following “Straight Edge” rules. You can’t do any:
- anything to harm your body
You can take it even farther and refrain from cursing or partying.
Honestly, I like the general concept (without going to extreme with the rules), but I’m also confused that they had to create a whole name for just living a healthy life.
I didn’t know about this until now but I realized I already do this. It’s a natural set of standards that Asian immigrant parents usually teach their children.
I want to be the optimal version of myself I can. To perform at peak levels, I cannot be doing things that affect my body or mind negatively and all those things have been consistently proven to do so.
I think the Straight Edge life is a good representation of how I try to do things. I try to do things the most efficiently and ethically as possible because there’s very little downside to it. The only real downside is to be made fun of by people who will call you uncool for not partaking in these things. And that’s not the type of person I want to hang out with anyways.
I get it. There is a bit of social pressure. And there are times when you are young or trapped where there’s really no cool people who don’t do drugs or drink or smoke. But it’s a big world and eventually you will grow old enough to find awesome, successful people like that if you actively look.There’s a difference between my idea of efficiency versus “cutting corners.”
There’s a difference between my idea of efficiency versus “cutting corners.” This isn’t about taking shortcuts or magic pills.
Unsuccessful people look for a shortcut, hack, cheat code, or magic pill to get ahead in making money, getting fit, and everything else in life. Ultimately, they always fail because they are too lazy to put in the hard work to get there. They keep looking for a Get Rich Quick strategy that doesn’t exist and isn’t sustainable.
Instead, when I think of efficiency, this is my mindset:
“I am willing to work as hard as necessary. I am willing to do the grunt work. I am willing to do the things unsuccessful people are too lazy to be bothered with. However, I will look to mentors and successful people who have gotten to where I have gotten to speed up the process by guiding me past the mistakes they have made ahead of time so I don’t have to.”
In this way, I get ahead.
I’m not doing this by cheating people or lying or looking for some secret Get Rich Quick scam tactic. Instead, I use books, history, videos, interviews, real people, and a strict selection process to find the best in the world (dead or alive) to help guide me along my journey. The lessons they have learned from wasting years of time and hundreds of thousands of dollars will be used to get me there faster.
The lessons they have learned from wasting years of time and hundreds of thousands of dollars will be used to get me there faster. Rather than cheating the system, I am building off the history and mistakes of previous generations. I am standing on the shoulders of giants.
Surprisingly enough, most people don’t do this. They are too arrogant or ignorant to recognize the importance of books, mentors, resources, or anything of the sort. Or they are too whimsical with who they choose to listen to.
Charlie Munger said that the best way of being the best is to deserve to be the best.
It’s an incredibly deep and amazing piece of advice. What he means is that you can cheat the system, lie, cook the books, and get away with it for a while. But eventually, you’ll be found out and screwed over.
The best example is the company Enron. For many years, they got away with making it seem like they were making billions of dollars on a global level through bribery, manipulation, corruption, cheating the system, making things overly complicated, cooking the books, and lying. They had the world fooled. Stock analysts applauded their company.
Stock analysts applauded their company. But in reality, almost all of them were being bribed by Enron. The ones who wouldn’t take the bribe were forcibly removed as analysts.
In reality, they were losing a ton of money. The executives at the top were siphoning off millions to pay for fancy dinners and vacations. They were secretly cheating consumers by illegally turning off generators to save money. There’s a great documentary about this I suggest you watch.
Eventually, things caught up to them. They got found out. Like most pyramid schemes, eventually you get so big that you run out of people to scam. You may get away with this for even years, but it will eventually catch up to you. What a horrible way to live.
What a horrible way to live. You’re always looking over your shoulder. The craziest part was that the top executives of Enron suffered from commitment and consistency bias. Everyday, they had to pretend to be honorable people who believed they were doing the right thing. Over the years, they eventually convinced themselves it was true.
Everyday, they had to pretend to be honorable people who believed they were doing the right thing. Over the years, they eventually convinced themselves it was true. Some of these people were sent to life in jail and they still believe that they were doing the right thing after robbing millions of dollars from people. Make sure this bias doesn’t occur to you.
Make sure this bias doesn’t occur to you. Is there anything in your life that you’re doing wrong that is slowly creeping into your belief patterns to affect you?
A similar story of such a scandal was Lance Armstrong, a top cyclist.
Now, here’s an example of an athlete who was the best because he deserved to be the best. He clearly didn’t cut any corners. Michael Jordan
Michael is still considered one of the best basketball players of all time.
Some of the things he did were so good that it was clear that he put hard work and practice into it. There was no cutting corners. There was no cheating the system. He could go to sleep at night in peace because he didn’t lie or cheat to get there.
His performance made it clear that he got there by deserving to be there.
Benefits of a Straight Edge Lifestyle
The obvious benefits of a Straight Edge lifestyle come are the catastrophes that you avoid by not indulging in excessive drinking, partying, tattoos, or drugs.
History is filled with stories of wealthy and poor people who have ruined their future by putting themselves in states where they are not in control and they behave in ways they regret.
There are a ton of results that aren’t ideal. You can end up:
- making poor life decisions
- as a horrible parent
- impregnating a woman with a child you can’t financially or emotionally supprot
- show up late to important meetings with family or your career because you overslept
- wasting money you could have invested better
- destroyed your performance in school
Growing up, I felt like these rules imposed on me by my parents were too strict. Maybe alcohol wasn’t as bad as it seems. Maybe successful people do fine partying, doing drugs, and drinking all the time. Maybe I was wrong in my beliefs.
But as I read more and more stories of successful people, I discovered plenty who learned the hard way and decided to give it up. This includes Russsell Simmons in his book Super Rich, Steve Aoki in the book Tribe of Mentors, and James Swanwick, who has a whole program on getting people to quit.
The Struggles of Living a Straight Edge Lifestyle
Environment can make or break how hard it is to lie this lifestyle.
I’ve found that living and working with people who align with your goals makes it super easy. There is little resistance.
But if you’re living in the party or drug capital of the world, that’s another story.
Growing up, I was bullied a lot in middle school for being the only kid who didn’t curse. Kids would follow after me and harass me to get me to curse. To them, it wasn’t anything serious, but for me, it built up like a bottle because it was so hard to resist and it placed so much more power on that word.
Later on, I realized that a word is just a word. I am freely able and willing to curse to demonstrate I have the ability. And sometimes, I’ll even let it slip out while talking.
It’s really the malice and meaning behind the word that matter.
The Secret to How To Live Straight Edge: Don’t Be Extremist
I’ve never done any drugs, had sex, cut myself intentionally, pierced myself, or gotten tattoos. I rarely gossip, drink, and curse. If I do, it’s socially or for networking rather than for myself. How? Am I some perfect model of self-control?
Actually, the danger of Straight Edge (or any lifestyle) is extremism. Take cursing. I used to not use a single curse word and that caused me more pain and acrobatics to avoid cursing because I got bullied and pressured to curse. Instead, if you have the willingness to do it, it takes the power and pleasure away from it. It’s like the sex addict whose addicted to sex because he was religious growing up and his parents made him neglect it so that he held it up to a pedestal.
Some people learn this the hard way by cursing or doing drugs so much that they realize its devastation and turn back to a straight edge lifestyle. Others can learn in a less forceful way by just seeing it as it is and realizing the drawbacks aren’t worth the cause.
You can end up optimizing for following the rules rather than life results. For example, according to the book 50 Secrets of the Longest Living People, long living people drink a cup or two of red wine every night.
But if you’re a Straight Edge extremist, you’re not allowed to drink a drop of alcohol. This is failing the main motive of Straight Edge, which is to avoid the dangers of excess alcohol, while preventing yourself from the benefits of living longer.
Therefore, don’t be an extremist for max life optimization.
Similarly, there are other ways this can apply. For example, it may be socially intelligent to at least drink one cup of alcohol in some social gatherings and networking events since most cultures love alcohol. You don’t have to get drunk but you don’t want to be the stingy odd one out.
I tend to get away with not drinking at all when no one else cares but I definitely will in events where it’s obvious that it would be weird or impolite if I didn’t (this is rare but it happens).
One thing I don’t like about the Straight Edge movement is that you can get the false idea that “all tattoos are evil”, which isn’t the case.
I’ll probably never get a tattoo because they hurt a lot to get, if you choose the wrong one you’ll regret it, and it doesn’t always look attractive. But you can always get it laser removed and some people definitely look more attractive with a tattoo by falling into a certain category of bad boy that girls like.
It’s fine to get one or two tattoos and still be Straight Edge. When it’s dozens, that’s a different story.
In fact, I some people actually do look more attractive with a tattoo and it can be something admirable if the tattoo has a strong message or meaning behind it because of the commitment they made to put it permanently on their bodies.
Overall, the Straight Edge lifestyle is an incredible, healthy lifestyle to live that will optimize your health, longevity, and happiness by reducing activities that can lead to major suffering.
I realized I was Straight Edge without even realizing it. It’s a common thing that 1st generation Asian parents push.
However, you should be cautious of extremism for this lifestyle or anything else.
What can you do right NOW to change your life for the better?
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