A few months back when I started Conrad Men’s I started to really pay attention of how most gentlemen blogs and instagram accounts portrayed success. Many of them portrayed success as a guy in a nice suit, smoking a cigar, standing next to a Lamborghini with a model on his arm.
Sure, this STUFF is something that he can now acquire after being financially successful, but it says nothing of the journey that this man had to go through to become a success. The STUFF came after the journey. The car didn’t make him successful, neither did the clothes or the model girlfriend. These are byproducts of success, these are symbols to the world that this man is successful, and it might make the man that drives that car and smokes the cigar feel like a success.
The classic book by Joseph Campbell isn’t called, The Hero’s Acquisitions, or The Hero’s Equipment, or The Hero’s Possessions. It’s called The Hero’s Journey.
The journey, the experience, is what makes the man.
When was the last time you wanted to watch a movie, read a book, or play a video game about a man going shopping?
Don’t get me wrong, having nice things is important. Dressing well, taking care of yourself, and living in an environment that creates joy and harmony within you is something that will then allow you a certain level of contentment, which will allow you to do other things besides struggling to meet your basic needs.
How you portray yourself in the world is your decision—you can be perceived by the things that you have, and the clothes that you wish to wear.
If you choose to wear a suit you will be portrayed a certain way.
If you choose to wear a tattered t-shirt will be perceived a certain way.
If you choose not to shower or shave you will be perceived a certain way.
You can choose to do any of these things, but then of course you could talk intelligently and eloquently, and be of service to those around you, and be a real asset to your community. These actions also effect how people will perceive you.
If you do dress well, along with speaking well and being of service, it will amplify the things you do, because people won’t be in conflict about your shaggy appearance and your benefit to them.
But speaking well, having intellect, wisdom, and experience aren’t necessarily things you can buy. You can buy an education, but it is still you that has to go through the experience of learning the information presented to you.
The clothes you wear and the things you have are really just tools for you to communicate to the outside world your values, and how you’d like to be perceived. This is what most brands try to do, they try to represent a lifestyle, a lifestyle they then try to get you to believe that you will have—if you buy their stuff.
If might actually happen.
If you do buy a Brooks Brothers suit, and go into a job interview at a law firm, you will probably get the job over the guy who came into the interview with shorts and flip flops on.
Conrad Men’s is a brand itself, and I do try to communicate what it stands for, which is adventure, self-exploration, and the aesthetic of the gentleman explorer. But I also view the things I make as things that will help you achieve your goals because they have a purpose to you and they are things that will reflect your values to the world.
But I don’t believe that the THINGS we make at Conrad Men’s are the things that will make you a success.
You will make you a success.
Going on this journey of life can only be lived by you. You have to live your own life, you have to have your own experiences. You have to feel you own pain, setbacks, frustration and anger. You are the one that gets to experience your wins and triumphs after walking through the dark night of the soul, coming up to false summit after false summit, but pushing ahead to the top.
You are the one that is on this journey.
It’s not your jacket, your backpack, or your rope, or your Lamborghini.
Those are tools for the journey, for the experiences you choose to have.
The clothes do not make the man.
Experiences make the man.