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The 40-Year-Old Version

mens coach mens program self reliant way Nov 11, 2023
Self Reliant Way Men's Program Benny Wills
Benny Wills

Read time: 5 1/2 minutes

I turned 40 earlier this week.

20 years ago, I was 20. In 20 years, I'll be 60.


I've been reflecting on my journey as an "adult" so far.

My 30th birthday was a huge bash. Dozens of people showed up. And of course I got hammered.

40 was a quiet evening with my wife, sons, and two close friends. We ate lemon meringue pie and played Settlers of Catan. (I won.)

What a decade it was! What a life it is!

If you had told me then that in 10 years I'd be:

  • Living in North Idaho 
  • Married with two sons (and a third on the way)
  • Working from home
  • Running a men's coaching program

I wouldn't have believed you.

Yet here I am.

For the record, I regret NOTHING about my life so far. I want to establish that right now. BUT, I could have spent WAY less time "figuring things out" and "finding myself."

My program, The Self Reliant Way, has gotten off to a great start. I launched it 3 1/2 months ago, and it's already transforming lives.

The main thrust of my program is to help men go from black-pilled to ful-filled. 

But what's the secret sauce behind its success?

I am the avatar client. I created The Self Reliant Way for myself. For younger me. 25-year-old Benny. Red-pilled, disgruntled, and fresh out of grad school. No direction, no leadership, and no goals.

I wanted to teach him what it took me over a decade to figure out. In 12 weeks.

There are hundreds of bits of wisdom, principles, and ideas currently shaping my life. Here are:

10 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me at 25

(In no particular order)

1. Always be reading a book.

Books contain timeless wisdom and all the secrets of the ages. Everything you need to know (outside of your direct experience) is in a book somewhere. A reading habit is a skill to lean on to learn any other skill. 

2. Take full responsibility for everything in your life.

No complaining. No blaming. Period. 

Accepting responsibility for your past releases you from the clutches of circumstance. You can't control the countless curveballs life throws at you. But you can control your reactions. You are in charge of your attitude and behavior.

Free yourself from your past to unlock a brighter future.

This is the beginning of wisdom.

3. You are going to die. Don't forget. 

There is a phrase attributed to ancient Rome: "Memento mori." It means, "Remember, you must die."

In my 20s, it felt like I was going to live (and be young) forever. Death didn't seem real. So my values were misplaced. I was a pleasure-seeker. An avoider of discipline. I thought life was about doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Fun was my primary objective.

Like I said, I regret nothing. I experienced so much in my 20's and early 30's. It was awesome. But I had no long game. I was living life day to day with no plan and no compass. 

I was 34 when reality sank in. Life may be short, but I might be here for a long time. This getting older thing is real. Dang. I guess it's time to take life seriously. 

Adjusting to a disciplined life wasn't easy.  It definitely wasn't fun.  I'm reluctant to admit that sometimes I was a whiny little brat about it. But it was a gauntlet I had to go through to get my life on track.

At 34, I decided to be a professional. Because death became real. I've grown a lot and made huge strides since. But imagine where I could have been had I understood this earlier. 

The clock is ticking. Time wasted is life wasted.

4. Forgive all.

I used to have a huge, government-shaped chip on my shoulder. And it weighed me down. I spent so much of my youth being mad mad mad.

Anger is like fire. It can warm your house or burn it down. It only does the former when it's controlled. Anger held towards others only burns you. It must be transmuted into something useful for it to be effective.

The next step is forgiveness. Wipe the slate clean. Forgive every person you’re holding some sort of grudge against. Because hating them only gives them power over you. 

Then forgive yourself. For all the stupid, selfish, mean-spirited, and ugly things you've ever said and done. Stop being so hard on yourself. You're only human.


5. Your only real enemy is YOU.

Some people are triggered by this one. Including me when I was first introduced to it.

But after reading it over and over, in book after book, I finally decided to give it a go.

Conclusion? It's true. 

My greatest opponent is me. And he has lethal weapons at his disposal. 

  • Doubt
  • Discouragement 
  • Indecision
  • Procrastination

This principle doesn't excuse "bad" behavior in the world. It holds you accountable to yours.

The more you overcome yourself, the more equipped you are to take on the world.

6. Every aspect of your life is a mirror of you as a person.

Circumstances don't control your life. Luck isn't real. Superstition stems from fear.

Everything in your life, from your car to your weight to your bank account, is a reflection of you.

Your circumstances come from your decisions. Your decisions come from your thoughts. Your thoughts come from your mind. Your mind is what makes you you.

Changing your circumstances starts with changing how you think.

7. Surround yourself with quality people.

Constructive relationships only. 

Kindness and patience are necessary, but so is protecting your life force. 

It's okay to cut people out who bring nothing to the table.

8. Decide what you want from life and create a vision of your future.

Establishing clear goals is a fundamental tenet of living a good life. Without goals, you're aimless. You won't find purpose. You won't get where you want to go because you don't know where you're going.

A house isn't built without a blueprint.
A destination isn't reached without a map.

Our lives are no different.

Paint a clear picture in your mind of what you want. Make a plan. Adjust along the way.  

Or live shackled to your past forever.

This is the difference between the few and the many. 

The few know exactly what they want. They set out to achieve it and persist until they get it. 

The many drift. With no clear goals. And no clear destination.

9. Your level of service determines your level of success.

To get what you want you must give in return. Your success depends on your ability to love, help and serve others.

10. You need help.

You can't figure everything out on your own. You're limited by your own knowledge and experience. You need hands on training, counseling, and tough love.

Seek out mentors, coaches, and masterminds.

You can go pretty far on your own, but if you want to take it to the next level, you need others. 

We can't see our blind spots. We don't even always know our strengths. Mentors and coaches help you see what you're missing. They offer new approaches and tactics. 

My life changed on a dime when I set my ego aside and started asking successful people (people ahead of me) for advice.

And now I offer the same service to others.

I work particularly well with people who see beyond the veil. People who don't believe everything they're told. People who are comfortable questioning everything. 

Men, if you're feeling stuck, overwhelmed, cynical, or disillusioned, talk to me!

It doesn't matter how old you are. It's never too late to excel.

"In the game of life, nothing is less important than the score at halftime. The tragedy of life is not that man loses, but that he almost wins.”

- Andy Andrews

Until next time.

Much love,


PS: Baby boy number 3 will be joining the family any day now.

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