I often hear from guys in our Porn Reboot groups who were doing well for a period then fell off seemingly out of nowhere. Everything was going right: they were eating well, they were on a good trajectory in their career, their family life was calm, and they were staying away from porn and masturbation. But all of a sudden something happened, a little unexpected twist, and they slipped.
I know I have some experience with that, too. There were times in my life when my gym routine was on point, I could take rejection from women without batting an eye, I was eating well, and my performance at work was top-notch. Then a little thing would happen and completely throw me off.
I have this concept that I think describes these situations perfectly. I call it the three modes of reboot progress. These three modes include:
- Survival Mode
- Thrive Mode
- Impact Mode
If you keep struggling with taking three steps forward and three steps back, this might be helpful for you. I encourage you to read this post and then do some journaling to determine which mode you may be in at the moment.
So, what does each mode entail?
The dictionary defines survival as continuing to exist or remaining intact. Living in survival mode means doing just enough to get by without completely breaking down. From what I’ve noticed in over a decade of working with men and observing general human behavior, the majority of people live their whole lives in survival mode. They spend the entirety of their time on this planet doing what they can scrape by but never moving beyond this.
When you’re in survival mode you lack clarity, purpose, or aim; you’re simply doing all you can to make it through the day. You’re treading water trying to pay the bills, support your family, and make ends meet. Maybe your ideal weight is 175 but you’re sitting at an overweight 230 pounds doing what you can to keep the scale from climbing higher, but nothing to bring that number down.
People living in survival mode are terrified of taking risks. They aren’t willing to bet on themselves. They’re not willing to step out of their comfort zone (no matter how uncomfortable it looks from the outside) and do what it takes to rise above. And if you’re in survival mode, you’re going to stay stuck in the same miserable cycle of three steps forward, three steps back.
Men living in survival mode feel entitled. They believe the government should take care of them, that women owe them sex, and that they deserve compliments for completing even the most basic of tasks. If you’re stuck in survival mode, chances are you’re too busy blaming others for your problems or looking for shortcuts to take responsibility for your actions. But realizing and accepting personal responsibility is necessary to escape the survival mode cycle.
I don’t work with men stuck in survival mode. There’s nothing I can do to help them. Until they are willing to step up to the plate and take responsibility for their lives, there isn’t a single thing I can do to make them see what they need to do. If this is you, I suggest you swallow your pride, own up to the truth of your reality, and get ready to make some changes as soon as possible.
The next mode is thrive mode. Men in thrive mode have escaped survival mode but are now stuck in a different type of downward spiral, and often can’t understand why. These men are experiencing growth in every area of their reboot, doing well in their careers, rebuilding their families, and getting their health in order, but they don’t know when to stop. It’s like the pendulum swung from one extreme to the other.
Thrive mode is deceiving because it feels like you’re in a good place. You make good money, you have nice things, you don’t need to worry about your bills, and you can often afford to do whatever you want to do. Sure, you still experience challenges but they are different types of challenges than those you face in survival mode.
The men in our implementation and intensive programs typically tend to be in thrive mode. Men who make the financial commitment to our group have usually escaped survival mode and recognize the worth of investing in themselves. However, they still can’t seem to make it over the final mental hump. They still have an empty pit inside that they try to fill with this insatiable hunger for success, but no matter how far they move up the ladder they still feel like they aren’t winning.
Does this feel familiar? If so, there’s one final piece of the puzzle that you’re missing. The seeming strengths that brought you this far will continue to be your weaknesses. You can continue building your business, expanding your stock portfolio, adding 0’s to your bank account, and showering your family with everything they could possibly need or want, but you won’t fill that emptiness inside of you until you move into the final mode.
Impact mode is the third and final mode of reboot progress. It’s the most difficult one to come to terms with but it’s also the most rewarding. I didn’t get there myself until just the last few years but I believe it’s something that every man should aim for. You transition into impact mode once you recognize that you didn’t move from survival mode to thrive mode alone, no matter how self-made you believe you are.
People paved the way and lifted you up in different ways along your journey. It happened with a little bit of kindness here or an important bit of well-timed wisdom or advice there. Now you’re at a place surrounded by abundance, every area of your reboot is thriving, and you have more than you could ever need. Your life is so full that you have almost no choice but to help other people, but if you choose to continue amassing things trying to fill that empty pit then you miss the beauty of impact mode.
Once you realize that true joy and fulfillment come from helping others, you cross the bridge from thrive mode to impact mode. It’s a wonderful gift to turn around and help others the way you were helped along the way, too. You’re not consumed by the fear of not making it in life or the fear of losing everything; you know that you’re in a good place and you want to share the path to this place with others.
What Mode Are You In?
So I want you to ask yourself, brother, what mode are you in? Put your ego aside, look around you, and answer honestly. If you’re in survival mode, stop blaming other people. Start hanging out with those doing better than you are and set some goals. If you’re in thrive mode, start asking yourself what you can do to remove the focus from you and shift it to others.
Set some time aside, do some writing, and figure out which mode you are in. Once you can answer honestly, start doing the work to move into the next phase, with the goal of ultimately arriving at impact mode. And on the off chance that you are already in impact mode, what can you do to create more impact? Can you turn up the volume? Can you do more?
As men who have learned to control their out-of-control behavior, I believe we have a responsibility to help others. Aside from meditation, I feel most fulfilled when I’m working with other men. Maybe you disagree with that, but I know it’s the case for me. And maybe it’s because you haven’t reached impact mode yet, brother, because there is so much more to life than simply amassing things. We have the opportunity to impact the world for the better.