Bottom Line Up Front: Alcohol is a tool. In skilled, experienced hands it can accomplish great things. In clumsy, inexperienced hands it turns the right time wrong, the good man bad and victory into painful, embarrassing, career debilitating disaster.
“In vino veritas.” — In wine there is truth.
The ancients were on to something when they said in wine there is truth. Truthful, meaningful connection between men is scarce, but meaningful connection is essential to meaningful success. Dangerously, society, senses of humor and ideas of right and wrong are all changing. It’s increasingly common for weak men to take offense where there is none, and to attack from weakness when there is no cause. But scarcity imparts value and if you are a strong man, you are rare. If you are a strong man, you are very, very valuable, indeed. But if you are strong you are also a threat, so don’t be foolish. Learn to connect with other strong men. Connection is the electric glue that binds and invigorates us as men. You know the feeling of a solid connection when you get it. A solid connection is shared values, shared risk, a shared moment of insight.
Strong men sense strength in other strong men and when we connect it’s unlike any other experience.
For thousands of years alcohol has helped us connect. In the excellent book “Everyday Drinking”, author and novelist Kingsley Amis writes that, as transportation linked hitherto isolated communities, alcohol consumption increased as strangers had to bond more quickly. Men once grew up in villages and knew each other for life, but cars and communication shrank distances and threw strangers together. Alcohol helped and continues to help men connect quickly by breaking down barriers.
The Romans said, “In vino veritas.” It means, “In win there is truth.” Drink with a man and you may be able to get at the—painful, ugly, beautiful, frightening—truth of his life, his fears, his temptations, his motivations and weaknesses. It is a privilege to see a man when his guard is down and alcohol is a tool for breaking down those guards. It’s a powerful tool, like money. And, like money, applied where it works, it works well. Applied where it does not work, it doesn’t’ work at all, or at worst, it destroys.
So, in the high stakes game of breaking down others’ barriers and lowering your own, the highest stakes game of all is to do so with your own boss. In the next few blog posts we will explore this very dangerous, exciting and invigorating game and hope you will enjoy and benefit from our doing so.
Next: Moderation in all things is the key to subtlety.