The Iron Qualities part 1: Why being positive is essential

How to be a positive man

This blog…this site…this house is built on the solid foundations of the Iron Qualities. They are unshakable, unmovable. Stronger than mountains, more powerful than bombs and more valuable than money.

But what exactly ARE the Iron Qualities? Let’s have a look and see if we can’t figure it all out.

The phrase comes from a quote from Teddy Roosevelt (1858 – 1919) – 26th President of America. Way back in the day, he said:

“We need the iron qualities that go with true manhood. We need the positive virtues of resolution, of courage, of indomitable will, of power to do without shrinking the rough work that must always be done.”

Makes you want to go out and take on the world doesn’t it? But before all that, let’s put our jotters and pencil cases in our bags; make sure we have our ham sandwiches, Dairylea Dunkers and cartons of Ribena in our He Man lunch boxes and go back to school for Iron Qualities 101 and break this quote down.

According to Teddy, there are a few elements that make up the Iron Qualities. And the first word that springs out is POSITIVE.


Why positivity is essential for men

Yes because there is no space for negativity in the world of a man. We are animals of the positive. I am defined by what I am, not what I am not – and definitely not what others tell me I am…or am not.

  • Does a man bitch about how unfair life is?
  • Does a man moan about the weather being too hot; too cold; too windy?
  • Does a man tell his friend (or himself) a thing can’t be done?
  • Is a man jealous of others?
  • Does a man gossip about people behind their back?

No, no, no, no and hell no.

Let’s do a compare and contrast to illustrate the point

Mr Negative

You know the types, right? You ask these guys how they’re doing and they meet you with a pathetic, defeated sigh before unloading with all their problems or going off on a rant about whatever is annoying them on that particular day.

It feels like they are sucking the life right out of your soul. It’s a common trait of polite people to sympathise with these individuals, giving them attention and maybe offering a sob story of their own or a propose a solution to the “problem.”

Stop. Don’t do it. You are not a personal Agony Aunt for these people. They need to get their shit together and you have no need to feel a sense of obligation or guilt for their outlook. As a Man of positivity, you lead by your positive example. Whether Mr Negative follows or not is entirely up to him.

My friend Pete from the Old Country used to work in an office environment. His boss would breeze in close to 10am today and trudge up to his office dragging his heels behind him. Pete always used to say that the energy in the place dropped several degrees with each step.

And sure enough, he would come into the room where the plebs all sat open plan and say “(sigh)….morning” in a pathetic way.

Never “Good morning.” No…never good.

He would usually then regale the workforce with a witty anecdote about how he couldn’t watch the latest episode of Sherlock because the kids had taken over the TV.

Or how it wasn’t fair because his brother had just got the latest iphone and he had to wait another 4 months for his upgrade.

Or how he’d been up all night with the flu.

Someone would eventually offer some sympathetic words and he would trudge off to his office where he would munch through a family bag of Doritos and a 2 litre bottle of coke.

It’s not your job to tell these people to stop whining – that’s ultimately up to them.

Of course, there are times when you will have real issues and problems. And if the need is genuine, your boys will be there to listen to you and offer advice – just like you will when someone you know has a genuine need.

But next time you feel yourself about to complain about how you didn’t sleep well last night or how ‘it’s not fair’ that one of your undeserving colleagues got a promotion or your hay fever is playing up…stop. Rein it in.

If you feel negativity slipping into your thoughts and what you say, look at things from a different perspective. Separate the minor complaints from the things that really matter. Remember how it feels when someone starts moaning about this petty stuff to you. You don’t want to hear it and neither do they.

Malicious negativity

And negativity comes in different forms. We also have the malicious type too. The kind of person who loves pointing out weaknesses and character flaws and takes pleasure in hurting people.

In the sports arena, your team mates are your brothers. Together you are a tribe – an army. Of course when you’re a boy it’s never that serious, but at its height, sport can bring out the best in fraternity.

It’s first to 50 goals…jumpers for goalposts…play on until it’s dark – you know the drill.

My father – Papa Bo Senior – was a promising footballer in his youth. Even played for the school team. Pretty impressive right?

He told me once about his coach, who was one of those big bullying teachers who believed in tough love. Huge, colossus of a man barking and roaring at a bunch of 14 year olds. Here’s some of his highlights

“Bo you CLOWN!”

“You’re not good enough to play it out from the back…JUST BOOT IT!!!”

“My 4 year old son could do better than that”

(after getting smashed 6-1) “There are some boys here who will never play for me again. USELESS.”

As a general rule, you shouldn’t be hanging around with pessimists anyway as men always seek out their equals or betters in order to become the best they can be.


Mr Positive

When I say ‘Mr Positive’, I’m not talking about Richard ‘Party off the Pounds’ Simmons. But you know they type of man who has the right kind of positivity. He’s composed – his feathers don’t get ruffled. Where others lumber through their daily commute to and from work, he stands tall and breezes through the crowd.

Where others see a problem, he sees solutions.

When something needs to be done – he does it.

When a compliment is earned – he will pay it

If he is lacking in an ability, he learns that ability.

When he wakes up in the morning – he’s ready to kick the day’s ass

It’s almost like he swaggers through life. It’s self-confidence, not arrogance. And a positive nature radiates from that. He accepts the nature of life, the world around him and the tools he has at his disposal.

We all get dealt a hand in life and everyone’s hand is not the same. Life is not fair. Some people get better cards than others.

A man with Iron Qualities looks at WHAT HE HAS – not what he does not have – and how he can use this to his best advantage. Then he takes action and makes it happen.

If he is missing a tool or needs to work on a skill, he goes and gets the tool and learns the skill. No complaints, no whining. Just positive, affirmative action.

Through his actions AND words, a man of Iron Qualities creates an air of positivity for himself and those around him.

He’s the kind of man you want to work for

He’s the kind of man you want working for you

He’s the kind of man you want in your team

He’s the kind of man who says “we can do this”, “every problem has a solution”, “good job”, “I believe in you”, “thank


It’s ok for a man to give compliments and be supportive. I don’t mean in a sycophantic kiss-ass brown nosing way; but when someone genuinely deserves it, absolutely let them know. A man is secure enough in himself and his own abilities not to get jealous at the success and achievements of others.

What positivity looks like in action


What can be done to cultivate positivity??

Here’s a few tried and tested tricks and techniques:

Affirmations – the messages we tell ourselves can affect our outlook massively

Grooming and taking pride in appearance – adopt the appearance of a positive man

Talk to more people – having a bit of banter with the sales staff or the bartender can go a long way

Help people out – if someone has a problem and can’t see a solution….be that solution

Time management – Use your time to do things that improve you as a person rather than getting sucked into a mindless, soul-sapping work/tv/web browsing routine

Alcohol in moderation – Bo likes the odd snifter as much as the next man. But he doesn’t like feeling groggy and low-energy while fighting a hangover

Avoid junk food – Processed meals with high sugar and fat content with little nutritional value are almost literally shit. And will make you feel like shit too if they are your staple diet

Exercise – Get the blood flowing…get your pump on. It will make you feel fantastic


Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *