7 Things A Man Can Do To Level Up

Hi guys, I’ve been invited as a weekly blogger/columnist for my friend’s dating app Love Out Loud Asia, check them out. This is my third post and you can read it here as well. 

If there’s one thing Final Fantasy and Diablo taught me when I was growing up, it would be the importance of Leveling Up. (And epic loot of course, but who’s going to find an Ultima Weapon in real life?) 

It’s a simple process really: Find weak enemies to kill for experience first, rest up to heal, then find stronger enemies to defeat. Rinse, lather, repeat.

How different is this from real life though? Finding a more difficult song to master or a more delicate dish to cook; it’s just like a tougher boss fight. Many practical skills and impressive feats are thoroughly achievable through hard work and patience, much like Mephisto runs.

While we can’t offer skill trees and stat distribution, here are 7 ways you can Level Up:

1. Playing a Musical Instrument

Most of us are absorbed in careers governed by efficiency and industry, but what ever happened to creativity, self expression and personal fulfillment? One of the true joys of life is creating something that you can share and people can relate to, for example a personal blog or musical cover of a song you love. So pick up that moldy guitar in the storeroom or start Googling “piano lessons”. I’ll even help out with guitar lessons, just ask!

Resources: ultimate-guitar.com, youtube.com/user/martyzsongs

2. Speaking a third Language

duolingo-or-memrise

There is no disadvantage if you can speak a third language on top of English and your mother tongue. Firstly, there’s the obvious advantage when travelling to that country. It adds a dimension on the C.V. and impresses at the restaurant. Learning a new language also expands networking opportunities and allows immersion in another culture, another world almost. With free online resources, that world is only a step away.

Language learning websites: duolingo.com, memrise.com

3Hittin’ the Gym

Photo credit: bodybuilding.com

Photo credit: bodybuilding.com

If you haven’t started lifting weights, here are the facts: it prevents heart disease, helps with sleep, improves posture, regulates testosterone levels, boosts self confidence and enhances your image. There are a ton of free resources available at your fingertips and with the convenience and low entrance fees of public gyms, there really is no excuse.

Resources: bodybuilding.comreddit.com/r/fitness/wiki/getting_started

4. Take up a Team Sport

Photo credit: Tiger Street Football

Photo credit: Tiger Street Football

Besides obvious health benefits, taking up a new team sport can improve communication and problem solving, sharpen decision making, develop personal patience and for others and foster bonds with old and new friends. Also, you are more likely to commit to weekly sessions with friends rather than a gym session that can always be put off.

5. Dressing Up

I quote from my previous blog post: “I’m in the opinion that a fashionably dressed man will leave a better impression than a lady with good fashion sense.” It’s not difficult to start: just visit male fashion websites with regularity. Some tips from another of my previous post: Fit > Quality > Brand, get a nice pair of loafers/boat shoes, belt must match your shoes and invest in a tailored suit.

Resources: dappered.comaskmen.com/fashionmensfashionmagazine.co.ukvaletmag.com

6. Cultivate EQ and Compassion

If there is one thing severely lacking in Singapore, it’s compassion. Start by volunteering for a cause and making it a weekly commitment. Too much? Bring your younger siblings out for a movie and get to know them better. No younger siblings? Your cute nephews and nieces. Visit your grandparents and talk to them.

You could also raise your EQ, which I personally value more than IQ. A higher EQ would  improve your relationships with your families, friends, prospective girlfriends and bosses. An excellent article by Karla Jennings on lifehack.org defines the Six Pillars of Emotional Intelligence: Self-Awareness, Empathy, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Social Skills and Happiness.

7. Cooking

I used to be impressed by guys who can cook, until I went to Melbourne for my Bachelor’s and realised how easy it is. Start with breakfast if you haven’t already. Scrambled eggs are a quick and easy fix in the mornings, and a great start to cooking. Move yourself up to pasta and sauce, before doing meats and vegetables.

It’s not going to taste nice on the first try, but Kurt Cobain didn’t compose a song on his first try either. A social aspect of being able to cook is sharing your dishes with friends; organise a potluck! Want a recipe? Google knows.

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This guide serves to add dimensions and diversity to enrich your life. Do not partake in this leveling up to impress your friends or with ladies; do it for yourself and your well being.

Ultimately, a man should never be content with himself physically, mentally, socially or spiritually; this drive and fighting spirit should test his limits and go beyond them. Only then, he would know he lived a full life, not one of just dreams and goals.

We foolishly believe that our own limitations are the proper measure of limitations.

– Napoleon Hill

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The Rise Of The Well-Dressed Singapore Man

Call it bias or tunnel vision, but I’m in the opinion that a fashionably dressed man will leave a better impression than a lady with good fashion sense, at least in Singapore. This is unfortunately (or fortunately, if you’re a man into Darwinism) due to the severe disregard of fashion among the male population in the land of the Merlion, as compared to their lovely counterparts.

I’d like to take this opportunity to raise my imaginary Lychee martini glass to all the Office Ladies (OLs) in Singapore. On behalf of all the men having lunch at Raffles Place, I would like to thank you for making the world a better and more beautiful place with your dresses and pencil skirts. I’d thank all of you personally, but you know what Singaporean women are like. Rejecting men in clubs is the national pastime here.

And let’s not forget the short shorts (nope, it’s not a typo) that is so prevalent everywhere as well. Now, that’s one thing we can be thankful of the weather here for.

Turning our attention back to my fellow brethen, I can almost peer into all your minds now: an image of the proverbial Singapore man, wearing an A|X T-shirt (loosely, I must add), decked out in loose cargo shorts and fitted with Tat Seng slippers.

No? Not the man you’re thinking of? How about the man wearing a polo shirt which might date back to when Sir Stamford Raffles first landed in Temasek, combined with the typical loose pair of jeans with <nsfw, viewer discretion advised> a pair of CROCS. (Ugh, the horrors).

Image

Not until recently.

You can start to tell, that a culture has been slowly, but surely, seeping into the hearts and minds of the guys here. Call it a vanity complex, if you wish. It started innocently with a prevalence of male colognes. Then, it was the increased attention on men’s skincare.

That was just the tip of the vanity iceberg.

Shorts and pants were getting tapered, shirts are hugging more bodies and men were exchanging tailor contacts. You can count more loafers and skinny jeans worn at Orchard Road than Filipinos at Lucky Plaza on a Sunday afternoon. Did you notice the rising trend of “hitting the gym”? And the results are showing. I used to quite the beast at Yio Chu Kang gym, now I am but an average guy amongst protein-guzzling nineteen year olds.

Photo credit: forums.hardwarezone.com.sgThis image was shared on the most male oriented website in Singapore, barring the dirty ones. Heh.

Photo credit: forums.hardwarezone.com.sg
This image was promoted on the most male-oriented website in Singapore, barring the dirty ones. Heh.

So now lads, it’s a sink-or-swim situation all of us are facing. No one’s going to put a gun to your head and threaten that you dress properly, but I urge that you hear me out.

Why every man should dress well:

  1. Boosting your self-confidence, which helps you in every aspect of your life. If you don’t like what you see in the mirror, then who will?
  2. There’s no need to explain if you’re single. If you’re attached/married, what better feeling than to make your woman feel insecure cos you’re so handsomely groomed? Perfect payback for the times she went clubbing and told you “she’s just going with her girlfriends.” HA!
  3. Bumping into those obscure “hi-bye” friends and leaving them with a good impression.
  4. Instead of “How come no girlfriend?”, the aunties will be saying, “How come so handsome no girlfriend?”
  5. Motivation to lose weight/sculpturing your body to look great into those mustard shorts and short sleeve shirts.
  6. The biggest reason is your career. Want to get an edge at work? Dress smartly. No upper management wants to see a slob at a managerial position. Your clients will treat you with slightly more respect and so will your colleagues. As superficial as this may sound, your image may affect your perceived performance at work.

If I’ve managed to motivate some of you, it’s only right that I leave some tips to get you started. Now I’m aware I’m no fashionista myself (as some of my friends can attest to) but I make the conscious effort to always try to look better.

Unfortunately, I’ve exceeded my word count (and need for a social life, I have friends you know) for this post. Stay tuned for my next blog post on “Fashion Tips for Men“.

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More courtship advice for the boys.

Guys, one piece of advice on courtship: Never, ever brag. Never say how good you are at something. There isn’t a single valid scenario for you to brag. You think it’s charming, making the girl all excited about how much you can bench. (DO YOU EVEN LIFT, BRAH?) No, you just made yourself sound like a jerk/douchebag.

The reason I’m saying this is because I just spoke to one of my female friends about how she went on a date but it felt like a one-way lesson about some guy’s achievements. Have you ever heard any of your female friends tell you: “Hey I’m falling for this guy because he is a DJ/can bench 1.5x his weight/am one of the best drivers I know/could’ve represented my country in *insert douche sport here*.”

Water Polo: Biggest amount of douche in a single sport

Water Polo: Biggest amount of douche in a single sport

There’s a fine line between confidence and bragging. It’s always better for the lady to ask you what you did as a sport during your school days or see how you drive rather than telling her outright, without reasons. Even if you played against Roger Federer in the quarter finals of the Wimbledon, play down your achievements. Correct me if I’m wrong ladies, but women like a humble guy who always aims to improve himself.

Tip: Say: “I’m really passionate about *sport/hobby/activity you’re good at* and play it quite often.” So even if you really suck at it (LOL I love playing soccer and snooker, but I’m so bad at it, I promise), if the lucky lady gets to see you in action, the expectations are already pretty low, hence your performances will certainly impress.

Ultimately, one of the qualities ladies look for in their man is making them feel comfortable, not a man of achievements. It’ll serve you well to remember that piece of advice.

Spending money = Effort put in = Less guilt? Nope.

I have a theory: When you spend money on a task/hobby, that action relieves you of your “effort burden”. I’d even go so far as to say that the amount spent is directly proportionate to the guilt relief.

It’s scary because more often than not, this translates to a short-term “feel good” moment, only to be followed by the inevitable “shit-I-didn’t-keep-up-to-a-promise-to-myself” moment.

For example, you sign up for a gym/yoga/pilates membership for 3-6 months, paying upfront at the start. Your reason: “If I paid for the membership, being such a cheapskate person, I HAVE to come down every other day to make my membership worth it!” You might even go so far as to divide the upfront fees by the projected (which never translates to actual) number of days you’ll be ‘hitting the gym’ to justify your financial commitment.

Many of us have been guilty of this self-deception before, yours truly included. I guess the message at the end of the day is: If you really want to be good at something, just keep doing it over and over again. Be smart with your passion and money. Go for a one-time slightly overpriced lesson over a committal 3 month membership.

Actually, when you think about it, sometimes it’s the hobbies that we spend the least money on that we enjoy the most.