| August 15, 2017

Podcast

Podcast #330: The Life Skills Every Man Needs to Know

What skills and knowledge sets does a man need to have in order to be effective and self-reliant? My guest has spent the past few years thinking about this topic and putting down his ideas in a series of books he calls Modules for Manhood. His name is Kenneth W. Royce. I had Kenneth on the show a few years ago to talk about the first volume in the series. Today on the show, we take a look at Modules for Manhood: Volume 2.

We begin by discussing what it means “to cope with the world” and why many young men today aren’t equipped to do so. Kenneth then shares some strategies on how you can find the time and money to learn new skills. Next we dig into some of the specific skills he highlights in his book, including how to teach, managing your time, and how to become a leader by learning to be a good follower. We end our conversation talking about problem solving and why every man should get his pilot’s license. 

This episode is a hodgepodge of insights on becoming a well-rounded man, from a man who has spent his life trying to become well-rounded himself.

Show Highlights

  • Why there are certain skills every young (and old!) man should learn and know
  • How to find the time and money to learn new skills, especially as an adult
  • The importance of teaching and passing on the skills and information you gather throughout your lifetime
  • Why every man needs to learn effective time management
  • The difference between busyness and effectiveness
  • How to know when you’ve learned and planned enough, and when to take action
  • How to learn the skill of problem solving
  • Getting out of a rut, and Ken’s tips for the depressed man
  • What a 17th century Spanish priest can teach us moderns about leadership
  • Why leaders need to be good followers
  • Why every man should get their pilot’s license

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

modules for manhood book cover ken royce

The Modules for Manhood books are fun reads. You can literally turn to any page in and find something interesting and/or useful. The first two are available now, and Volume 3 is in the works.

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)

available-on-itunes

available-on-stitcher

soundcloud-logo

pocketcasts

google-play-podcast

Listen to the episode on a separate page.

Download this episode.

Subscribe to the podcast in the media player of your choice.

Podcast Sponsors

The Illustrated Art of Manliness. Our indispensable, hands-on guide to more than 100 practical skills, illustrated beautifully by Ted Slampyak. Get your copy today!

Saxx Underwear. Everything you didn’t know you needed in a pair of underwear. Get 20% off your first purchase by visiting SaxxUnderwear.com/manliness.

Read the Transcript

Brett McKay: Welcome to another edition of the Art of Manliness podcast. What skills and knowledge sets does a man need to have in order to be effective and self-reliant? My guest has spent the past few years thinking about this topic and putting down his ideas in a series of books that he calls Modules for Manhood. His name is Kenneth W. Royce. Now, I had Ken on the show a few years ago to talk about the first volume of Modules for Manhood and today on the show, we discuss the modules found in volume two.

We begin by discussing what it means to cope with the world and why many young men today aren’t equipped to do so. Kenneth then shares some strategies on how you can find the time and money to learn new skills. We then dig into some of the specific skills he highlights in volume two of Modules for Manhood including how to teach, managing your time and how to become a leader by learning to be a good follower.

We had a conversation talking about problem solving and why every man should get his pilot’s license. This episode is a hodgepodge of insights of becoming a well-rounded man for a man who spends his life trying to become well-rounded himself. After the show is over, check out the show notes at aom.is/royce where you find links to resources, where you delve deeper to this topic. Kenneth W. Royce, welcome back to the show.

Kenneth Royce: Glad to be back. Thanks, Brett.

Brett McKay: We had you on a few years ago to talk about your book, volume one in a series called Modules for Manhood.

Kenneth Royce: That’s right.

Brett McKay: For those who are familiar with the series, what is the overarching goal of this series of books, you’re putting out called Modules for Manhood?

Kenneth Royce: It’s basically to fill in the gaps of males who aren’t quite yet men and becoming a man is a process and there’s always something to learn, something to hone, something to do better at, but these days a lot of young males didn’t have father figures, grandfathers, uncles, or even an older brother to help them show the way. As an author, I’m trying to do my part in helping them to fill in the gaps, this so-called modules. There’s about 42 of them that I came up with and volume two covers I think 13 through 25.

Brett McKay: I think it’s interesting. You quote Jeff Cooper, the famous marksman, gunfighter.

Kenneth Royce: Sure.

Brett McKay: He says that it’s about these skills that you’re trying to teach is teaching young men how to cope with the world around them. What do you, and what does Cooper mean by coping with the world around you?

Kenneth Royce: Jeff Cooper, just before he died in 2006, outlined a whole list of things that he thought a young man should know how to do before he leaves his father’s household and Cooper thought the father was primarily responsible for inculcating these things, such as knowing how to fight, knowing how to manage money, knowing how to cook a meal, how to camp out on his own, speaking foreign languages and so forth. Coping with the world is something a man should be able to do and not have to ask for help for every little thing.

Brett McKay: He has all these different skills. It’s an impressive amount of skills like you said fighting, learning foreign language, things like that, but you also have things like a young man learning how to fly a plane, ride a motorcycle. Let’s say you’re a young man and you’re like, “Man, that looks awesome. I want to learn how to do all these things, but I didn’t learn those when I was a youngster, kid or my 20s.” How do you find the time if you’re in your 30s or your 40s? How do you find the time, and also the money? This stuff oftentimes takes money to learn. How do you find the time and money to learn these skills?

Kenneth Royce: People tend to find it … anybody who’s gaming or addicted to screen, to entertainment, has plenty of time available if they’ll drop that stuff and go learn real skills. Another way to find the time is to start waking up half an hour or an hour earlier a day. Basically, if you get serious about learning something you will “find the time.” The time is there. Are you there? That’s the question.

Brett McKay: What about the money issue?

Kenneth Royce: Again, learning to fly, that’s the most expensive thing that you mentioned. To become a private pilot will cost you about nine or $10,000. Plane, the certified flight instructor, your books and so forth. That’s a lot of skill for not a whole lot of money. I quote in the introduction of all the modules, a young man who was 17. By the time he was 17, he had already bought a powered parachute which is about the cheapest way to get into aviation and became a licensed sport pilot for that.

This young man is a junior in high school, was already an aircraft owner and already a pilot. He did it by mowing lawns. He mowed acres, and acres, and acres of lawns for the previous two or years, and saved his money. That’s one example of how it can be done.

Brett McKay: Right. Time and money. It’s there if you just take the initiative to find it.

Kenneth Royce: Sure.

Brett McKay: Let’s say you’re a dad. Cooper thought that these skills should be taught by fathers to sons. What if you’re a dad and you don’t know how to do half this stuff. You want to teach your son how to be efficient, how to cope, but you’re still trying to figure out that yourself. How do you impart those skills when you’re still trying to figure it out on your own??

Kenneth Royce: One way to do it is to fake it until you make it. However incomplete the dad is, he certainly knows more about whatever subject than the son probably does so the dad needs to ramp it up and then teach to the son what he knows as he knows it. When I was in college for example, I would take a course and the next semester, I would tutor it. I never claimed to be an expert, but I knew more about the subject than my students did even though I just learned it a semester ago. Fake it until you make it. A child will respond to any kind of good instruction, and I think sons are fair. They know that fathers aren’t omnipotent and omniscient, but what counts is the effort, so dads need to bear down and fill up the module.

Brett McKay: That leaves me this idea of teaching your son. It leads me to one of the modules you cover, one of the very first one in fact in volume two is teaching. Why do you think teaching is such an important skill for men to have that you made it one of those modules?

Kenneth Royce: Men should be examples of two others for their family and for society. Part of being a good example is being able to impart what you know how to do and what you know in your head. There’s a certain process, a certain way to be a teacher. Teaching is a science and an art and so I thought it’s important to describe what it is to teach, what’s involved, and basically anybody is a teacher if they can show someone to do something quicker than that student could learn to do it on their own.

The other reason it’s important to know how to teach is because you really don’t know something until you’ve taught it. That’s the final examination for any skill is if you can impart it to someone else, and as you do so, you’re going to learn more about that skill or that knowledge set than you did before when you weren’t teaching it. It’s the final way to know that you own something is if you can teach it.

Brett McKay: That second point, I think goes back to that question if you’re a dad and you know the stuff, how do you teach it to your kid? Teach it to your kid that you’re going to learn how to do it, right?

Kenneth Royce: Yeah. There’s some things dads could go, “Hey, son. I’m not real up to speed on this but let’s go fishing together.” I’m no great fisherman, but I know a little bit about it from my dad, my grandfather. Let’s go fishing. We’ll learn some of it together. That’s good for the relationship because it’s more partnership in that learning experience versus dad being always the authoritarian teacher and the son always the student. Once in a while, in some things, it’s good that they both learn it together and the son knows that they’re learning it together.

Brett McKay: Yeah. I think it’s such a great example for your son. It’s like, “Look, my dad is 30, 40 and he’s still learning. His education didn’t stop with school.” Another aspect that you model, you call out in volume two is time management As we mentioned earlier, if you want to cram in all this stuff, learn all the stuff, these modules. You have to manage your time effectively and efficiently. I mean what’s your approach to time management and per activity that you lay out in the Modules for Manhood?

Kenneth Royce: You’ve got to realize that everyone has the same amount of time in a day whether it’s Warren Buffet or someone who’s destitute on the streets. They’ve all got 24 hours in a day. We’re given a resource every day of a new day and I say yesterday is a canceled check, tomorrow is a promissory note but today is cash. How you spend today to the minute, once you get to really efficient and vigilant about it, will add up to a real life versus if your fritter your time away, you’re not going to have much of a life. You’re not going to be effective, you won’t have goals that are fulfilled, you won’t attract a quality mate, you won’t have a good career.

You’ve got to consider the wealth that you’re given every day when you wake up in the morning. I’ve got a full day that I can spend cash in the bank or cash in my wallet. You’ve got to drop the unimportant things, you’ve got to start with the important things and start with A, start with stuff that has to be done that’s important or urgent and tackle that immediately.

I had a quick vignette when I got online one time at a coffee shop and instead of tackling the days business, I went to some fun emails and told some jokes and looked at some JPEGS and all that and I could gave finished my business, had I started with my business but no, I played instead of worked. I never forgot that. I always remind myself start with the A’s, not with the C’s.

Brett McKay: I love that analogy of time is money. I mean we also need our time as money but really thinking of your time as money and spending it like that. It really drives home. Also that money is going to go away. This is cash that disappears at the end of the day will help you manage better. You also quote Hemmingway where he famously said, “You never confuse motion for action.”

Kenneth Royce: That’s a great quote, yeah.

Brett McKay: Any examples maybe from your own life or from just your observation of other men of how they confuse motion for action.

Kenneth Royce: A lot of people men and women claimed to be busy. Then I put busy, if you can hear the quotation marks in my voice. They’re in motion but are they getting important things done and getting the important things done and right. That’s really the question. It’s easy to spend the day somehow, the day will go whether you want it to or not. It will go away, but what did you get done, what did you accomplish? You should have some goals in mind, general goals and then those are localized to the day, to within hours or even minutes within that day.

You take a tycoon, I forget his name but he’s a Chinese billionaire and his day is planned by every 15 minutes, quarter of the hour is blocked out. This is a man that knows what his time is worth and gets stuff done. Are we in motion? Are we moving stuff around, just to move it around or touch something once, especially a piece of paper? Touch it once, reply to that letter, finish the task that that piece of paper demands, throw it in the trash, whatever, but touch it once, get it done and then move on to the next task. Don’t keep rearranging things on your desk moving it a little bit here and then two hours later a little bit there.

Touch it once and get it done. That’s action versus motion. Speaking of time management, there’s a really interesting movie called In Time and its basic where the currency of the society is based on time. You’re guaranteed, I think, 25 years and then after that, have you added to your time account in your first 25 years, if not you clock out, you die. It’s a fascinating concept. The movie is pretty well done. It could have been better but it’s good enough to be an attractive presentation of that concept. They’ve got a little digital clock on their forearm, he’s got 100 years and he gives it away and that causes all sorts of interesting problems.

Brett McKay: I think Justin Timberlake is in that movie if I remember it correctly.

Kenneth Royce: That’s right.

Brett McKay: I love the touch of once. I mean that came from, I remember, David Allen from Getting Things Done advocates that as well.

Kenneth Royce: That’s right.

Brett McKay: You talk about getting things done. If you’re listening to this podcast, haven’t read Getting Things Done or GTD, it’s often referred to, great book, I highly recommend it.

Kenneth Royce: He’s the master of that.

Brett McKay: For sure. Speaking of this confusing motion for action, you also warned readers to stay away or not confuse excessive studying and research as action because I think, I guess the insidious thing about studying and researching, it makes you feel like you’re doing something but you actually aren’t.

Kenneth Royce: Sure.

Brett McKay: How do you know when you’ve reached the point where you’ve learned all you can and you’re ready to start actually putting rubber meets the road type stuff?

Kenneth Royce: If you’ve got a product that you’ve got to research and get into with a lot of study for the project, you might be wise to have some milestones written down in advance to give you an idea of your progress. Beyond that, it just takes practice doing it, and a gut hunch. This is something that I have to do myself because every one of these modules in my three books all 42 of them, each one of these deserves its own book and many books have been written about any one of these subjects.

How do I know as an author of trying to give you the short version of it know when to stop and that’s a tricky one. There’s a science to it, the milestones in advance and then the art, the gut hunch will come into play later but then if someone really loves to read and research like I do, sometimes, it can be a very fun vortex that lets yourself dive in about this. I think that’s enough.

I just went through that researching the ribosome, microbiology, nucleic acids and proteins and how they’re formed and all that in my chapter about evolution. That is a fascinating vortex. I finally crawled my way out of it but I did and I think I’m satisfied with what I’ve gotten which I think is going to be chapter 33. It just takes practice knowing when to stop.

Brett McKay: I’ve often found, I can get trapped. It’s actually when you’re planning business stuff, you want to read as much as you can and plan as much as you can and you have this perfect plan. You’re like okay. You just end up planning more and planning more. Then when you finally start to take action, you quickly realize that that plan you had pretty much worthless. I mean, it didn’t go according anything to plan.

Kenneth Royce: That’s right. At least you know that. You have to go somewhere else, and that’s fine.

Brett McKay: Eisenhower said that plans are worthless but planning is everything.

Kenneth Royce: That’s a great way to put it.

Brett McKay: I think what planning does is it allows you to get your mind around the whole project and then when things don’t go according to plan, you have this mental models in your head so you can adapt on the fly and that wouldn’t have been possible if you didn’t do the planning in advance. There’s a module right there. You should put that that Eisenhower quote in one of your books.

Kenneth Royce: I could look into it. It reminds me when I was studying to become a private pilot, it’s very hierarchical, sequential study and your skill set, you start with this and then he adds this and so forth, but aside from that, my own personal research on aviation was very haphazard. I’d basically snarfed all the magazines that I could from the terminals. People leave their old copies of AOPA, and pilot, and flying and all that. I’d ask if you guys done with this. It looks like you’ve got plenty of magazines.

I scan the information that I liked. I was learning about aviation in very random sense but this mosaic began to fill itself pretty nicely after about a year and I had a very wide and occasionally pretty deep knowledge about flying that I got from magazines and books. That on top of the actual planning and study to get your pilot’s license, I think rounded me out pretty well as a young pilot.

Brett McKay: Another thing that you men or men in general need to learn in order to cope with the world is problem solving because once you get into adulthood, you quickly realize that life is just basically solving problem after problem, after problem.

Kenneth Royce: That’s right.

Brett McKay: For a lot of young men that can be daunting and even paralyzing. How do you suggest young men go about categorizing problems to help them move forward with solutions?

Kenneth Royce: I guess maybe the first thing is to discern who owns the problem. Just because there’s a problem and it’s in your face, is it your problem or is it someone else’s problem that they’re trying to put on you. My mom says who owns the problem, whose property is this? It’s not my property. That problem is your property, so if it’s not your property, then don’t mess with it. Further than that, let’s say it is your property, well, if you can’t define it or act upon it, there’s nothing to do but forget it.

Is it really a problem? Can you do anything about it? Is it going to affect you? Weather. I can’t do anything about a hailstorm except stay out of the hail. Other than that, if you’ve got to start to deal with the problem then deal with problems big enough to matter yet small enough to solve. I read that somewhere and I think it’s a fantastic way to philosophize on this.

If a problem is not big enough to matter, then you can forget it but if it’s too big to solve, then what are you going to do anyway? Get philosophical about what’s in your face. If it is big enough to matter and small enough to solve, then all right. Now, you’re on your way to having to deal with something and the book talks about the steps in that especially if they’re important problems, the first step would be to separate facts from opinions then you define the real problem which is often something else especially dealing with women.

They may get in your face about something and complaining about A and A is not bothering them. They’re bothered about B and you’ve got to know women and know your woman to get to, “All right, Honey. What’s really bothering you?” It’ll be something entirely different. Step three, secure evidence on those possible solutions. Step four, weigh the pros and cons of each possible solution. Problem solving is a skill and you get better with any skill that you practice well. A real man loves problems because as Ben Carson said, “It’s just a chance to do your best.”

Brett McKay: Do your best.

Kenneth Royce: Another opportunity to do your best.

Brett McKay: I think one of the biggest challenge, preferably for younger men when they’re just starting out in life is figuring out what is really important. I remember when I was a young lad, 18, 19, things that I thought were really big problems like they weren’t really big problems. I made them big in my head and I spend a lot of time and energy on that. As you get older, you start learning how to discern that.

Kenneth Royce: You get a perspective. I would tell young boys that I once help raise, I said, “Look, guys. One was like, let’s say, nine years old, and I said, “Look, I know this seems a big deal to you now but think of at your school a six-year-old complaining about a six-year-old problem. You look at him as a nine-year-old going, “What a kid, what a punk, what a baby.” I said, “A few years, you’ll think back on this problem that you’re having right now at nine as something babyish. Just realize however old you are right now, young man. You’re going to be older later so keep a long-term perspective about life, and the old phrase.”

In a hundred years, will this even matter? Even five years, will it even matter to anyone, including yourself? Probably not. Thinking of young men and problems, I mentioned this in the book, and I want to mention it on air, don’t be afraid or hesitant to ask somebody for help especially if the problem is new and it hasn’t set in. Let’s say, you broke something, just fess up. Ask dad, or mom, or someone else, “Look, I did this.”

Most of the time, an adult, a seasoned man will go, “It’s a goof but it’s not as bad as you think. Here’s how we’ll handle it.” It’s like, “Ah.” If you let your problem fester, it may become too big for even an adult to handle, and attorneys may have to be called, or doctors, or whoever at the next level. handle your problems early and even if you have to ask for help to get out of a jam, just do it.

Brett McKay: Asking for help, that can be particularly hard for men because you want to show independence and show that you can cope with the world but it’s a learning process and sometimes you should try everything yourself but a certain point, you need to reach out and ask for some help, get some insight.

Kenneth Royce: Asking for help is coping. If you’re lost, don’t try to act like a stud in front of your girlfriend driving around aimlessly. Just pull over and go, “Hey, looking for such and such?”

Brett McKay: Another problem you tackle on the book that a lot of, not just … I think all men at a certain point in their life, they’re going to face whether you’re young, midlife or older is getting into a rut. Was there a time in your life when you found yourself in a rut, and what did you do to get yourself out of it?

Kenneth Royce: Absolutely. I think I mention in the book, I had a whirlwind college career. I got a business MBA in just three years. The dean of the business school is just amazed. All my professors thought I was something really unique. I graduated and it’s like, “Now, what do I do?” I had a year breadth of just like wow. Just stunning silence. I hadn’t made any plans whatsoever of what to do after my college graduation.

I might as well have just spent four years in college and planned for the graduation after that, I would have been ahead of the game. That was a very black year. I finally just had to pull myself up out of my bootstraps. I went to Europe to a trade show and attracted the sponsorship of a business … I was in the motorcycle industry years ago. Even right now, I’m transitioning from very philosophical and political type works with all the Boston T. Party books I’ve written about government, constitution, privacy, and guns, and so forth.

From my own self, I pretty much exhausted my interest and my passion on in a lot of those subjects so I’m having to switch gears and write and think about other things. Modules being one of them. I wouldn’t call it a rut but it’s certainly a transition. I’ve got some tips about getting out of the rut. If you’ve got negative emotions, or you’re bored, or you’re tired, or you’re depressed, you’ve just got to go do something either for yourself or for somebody else.

You just can’t wallow in it. If you do, cobwebs will start to form on your soul and those cobwebs turn into steel aircraft cables. I see people and I know you do too every day that are just walking, walking ruts and you can tell that they’ve been in that for a decade and they ain’t getting out. I realized that this could happen to anyone especially if you have a reversal of fortunes, if you’re business tanks, guaranteed that you’re going to be upright, face in the sun all the time and so you’ve got to learn how to get up and stay up. Life is work and it’s up to you to do it.

Brett McKay: I mean the solution is so simple. You just got to start doing something. The hard part is actually just doing that thing, and it really is. In my experience when I’ve been in a rut, it’s a matter of just … Often I just sheer willpower, and just getting to take that first step because once you take that first step, it’s like an object in motion stays in motion. Once you get going, you’ll keep going but it’s just that first part, an object in rest stays at rest. You got to really exert a lot of energy to get going.

Kenneth Royce: That’s right.

Brett McKay: I know a lot of people who are in a rut, they want to hear, “There’s got to be some hack that I can do.” Often no, there’s not. You just got to start doing something and the rest will take care of itself.

Kenneth Royce: I’ll tell you a good hack if you’re depressed.

Brett McKay: Let’s hear it.

Kenneth Royce: It’s either to work out, do something very physical because that’ll change your endocrinology, get your serotonin levels up and all that. Working out will help get over depression. The other thing, if you’re depressed or if you’re in a funk, go do something nice for someone especially a stranger. Go to the senior center and help out there at the library or find some way to help out and forget about yourself. Forget about your own damn problems and how sad and miserable you are.

It’s not even you anymore. Just go do something for someone else and that will make you feel good because you’ve made other people feel good. It’s not all about you, get out of yourself. I tell myself that, “Get out of yourself. There’s other people out there. You’re not the only one on the planet. Get out of yourself.”

Brett McKay: I love that. You also devote a section to leadership which is every man is going to be a leader at some point in his life. That was interesting in this section for your leadership insight, you went into a Spanish … Was he Jesuit? What kind of priest was he? It’s Baltasar Gracian.

Kenneth Royce: That’s a fantastic book.

Brett McKay: The Art of Worldly Wisdom is what it’s called, right?

Kenneth Royce: That’s right.

Brett McKay: I think he’s from the 16th century, 15th century Spanish priest. He teaches about being better leaders.

Kenneth Royce: His book is like a Marcus Aurelius’ meditations. Just things he wrote to himself over a long period of time then it concocted itself into a book. There are various moments. I mean each subject gets a paragraph and the book itself is very tiny. You get it on Amazon and fit in your back pocket. It really is a must thing to have. I picked out a few things he talked about that your behavior define and noble common and nothing have distinction in speech and action. Prize intensity more than extent to give way and everything or to everyone. Don’t be a bore. Adapt yourself to your company. Just great stuff.

A leader is anybody who has followers. Someone could be a leader and not really even know it but if you’ve got followers, let’s say you’ve got a couple of younger siblings. You’re a leader to them. They look at you as a quasi-adult almost and especially if a 17-year-old boy has a nine year old sister, you’re like a god to her. If you’ve got a follower, you’re a leader. You better know the extent of your influence and how important it is to act accordingly. Everyone is a leader somewhere.

There’s an art to it and there’s personalities that are much more suited for it like the so-called ENTJ and the Myers-Briggs, the field marshal. These people are natural born leaders. In my book on the back cover, Robin Olds, 23 years old, this guy was a major in the US Army Air Corps in England and was a squadron commander, P51 fighter pilots at 23. Natural leader. Then went on to be a fighter wing commander in Vietnam and then headed up the US Air Force Academy. It’s just in some men to be a leader to someone, so you better know something about it.

Brett McKay: In your book, in your section about leadership, you talked about the importance of leaders being good followers which is counterintuitive because often time the literature on being a good leader especially like I don’t know the pop leadership stuff. Not the real. It’s just all like, “No, a leader is like this. Dynamo, he’s charismatic. He doesn’t submit. He’s leading from the front. Why do you think leaders should be good followers?

Kenneth Royce: There are some leaders that are born into it like that in those so-called Dynamos who are probably Dynamos at three and four years old and since then and used to being at the forefront and leading people. That’s one kind of leader. I don’t think it’s necessarily the best. I think the best leader, and the military support this are the ones who come through the ranks. I’ll give you two examples. Someone who goes right into officer training school and becomes the second lieutenant who’s never been an enlisted man or a non-commissioned officer.

Certainly the military is full of those kinds of officers but who the military really values are the so-called mustangs. I think Lewis Puller of the Marine Corps, Chesty Puller is the best example of that. he started out as a buck private in the marines back in, I think, 1920s, maybe World War 1, and retired as a brigadier general I believe. The reason he was such a good officer especially in World War 2 in Korea was that he had been there as a grunt, as a buck private and so he was really knowledgeable about the needs of his men and he knew what they’re capable of when they were just ditching the bitch about something and when there was a real issue that the men couldn’t handle. He understood them inside and out because he had been one.

Brett McKay: I love that. That’s been my experience as a leader. I never ask someone to do something that I haven’t done myself at some point. Like you said, you get that experience, you know what is possible and like you said you know when someone is just like, “I can’t do this.” No, you can do it, you’re just not thinking. You can coach them.

Kenneth Royce: Parenting is similar to this. When I was raising a couple of boys with my girlfriend who had children from a previous marriage, they would grouse once in a while of why they had to do this or that and it’s not fair. I said, “Look, I was a boy myself. I know exactly what you’re going through. There’s no surprises ahead of you that I haven’t experience myself and grown out of. This is why I’m here to help teach you and get you into manhood.”

Brett McKay: There’s a lot of other skills you cover in the book. You talk about self-defense which I think we tackled about in the previous podcast we did. You get into economics, you get into time management, but the one skill that I thought was interesting you highlight because after I read this, I was like, “I got to do this.”

Kenneth Royce: Good.

Brett McKay: It’s getting your pilot’s license. Why do you think every man should go out and get their pilot’s license?

Kenneth Royce: I mean since we’re on the Art of Manliness, I mean the first and most obvious answer is because it’s a studly, manly thing to do. I mean, why wouldn’t a man want to fly an airplane? That’s the simple answer. To dig into it a little more deeply, he experiences a totally new level of freedom that you can’t find anywhere else.

No more TSA, blue glove groping him and his family which I don’t understand how any man would put up with that at the airport. You’ve got the freedom to fly from A to B and you decide what is A and what is B instead of having to drive three hours to Denver to pick up the big airplane. Why don’t you fly out of Grand Junction, Colorado where you live? Then the other thing that I’ve really come to enjoy about aviation and something that you don’t really read about or your instructor will tell you about but you have to experience for yourself as a pilot is that you’ve entered into a new and higher level of humanity.

That sounds a little elitist but quite frankly, the barriers of entry to becoming a pilot are high enough that it excluded a lot of people that just will never be there and don’t deserve to be there. For example, I just got back from Oshkosh where 10,000 people fly in with their airplanes and so everyone has got phones and tablets, et cetera and they’ve got these public charging stations.

Instead of just hanging around for an hour waiting for your tablet to charge up, you can plug it in and go have a shower, go have breakfast and come back, and it will still be there because your amongst thousands of fellow aviators. Quite frankly, they just operate at a bit higher level of ethics, of responsibility and of capability. For me, that’s becoming almost as enjoyable and gratifying as the flying itself.

Brett McKay: I think a lot of reason why guys don’t take that out is they think the cost is prohibited. Is it really that expensive to get your pilot’s license?

Kenneth Royce: No. Becoming a pilot isn’t all that expensive especially for what it gives you. If you get your private pilot license, that’s above sport pilot which means you can fly something up to, gosh, I think 12-seat aircraft versus only two seats as a sport pilot. Private pilot license will cost you about $10,000. That includes plane, that includes the instructor, that includes your books. That will take you about anywhere from three to nine month just depending on the tempo of how often you could get to the airfield and get your license.

Brett McKay: That’s not bad at all considering what you get. It’s definitely an investment for sure. The process is when you get your pilot’s license, you said there’s a sport pilot license and there’s a private.

Kenneth Royce: Right.

Brett McKay: Do you get to start off the sport license and then move to the private or can you just go right to private?

Kenneth Royce: You can start and go right to private. Some people give sport first because it’s a little cheaper. It’s costs you about $6,000 mainly because it only requires 20 hours of dual instruction time versus a minimum of 40 hours private pilot. You are a little limited as a sport pilot. You can only fly one passenger. You could fly only in the daytime. You can’t have clouds; you must have ground visible below you. I think you’re limited to 10,000 feet and also you usually can’t fly into big air space, class bravo which will be LAX, Denver and Chicago unless I think you have some sort of endorsement.

Most people that fly routinely fly at the sport pilot level. You don’t have that many people with you. You don’t fly into big cities. It would be a good way to get into flying and start with a sport pilot and then you can always add private pilot later on.

Brett McKay: A plane, is that something you own or do you rent one and if you do own one, how much does it cost to own a plane?

Kenneth Royce: The renting versus ownership decision usually is made when someone is flying over 100 hours a year. Below that, if you’ve got at least a fairly good deal on renting a plane, which is anywhere from 100 to $130 an hour, including fuel, that’s basically for a Cessna 172 Skyhawk. It’s a four-seater. It’s cruises about 130 miles an hour for about a 400-mile range. If you’re flying more than 100 hours a year, the economics make more sense to buy the Skyhawk over the long haul. A plane like that will cost anywhere from 25 to $50,000 just depending on age and condition.

Brett McKay: You can get these used? There’s a good used market?

Kenneth Royce: Sure. In fact a lot of the planes that are flying aren’t made anymore. Cessna doesn’t make their entire line like the 180 Skywagon which is a great plane but they stopped making it in the ‘70s I think. A lot of what’s flying is old. My plane is from the ‘60s. A new plane like a brand-new Skyhawk today is $300,000 and you can get the cheeriest 1980 used Skyhawk with nice avionics for 60,000. You’d have a hard time paying more than $60,000 for the nicest used Skyhawk.

The other $240,000 premium for a new plane, just isn’t worth it. People are catching on the values of these older planes. The market has bought them down but I think it’s starting to rebound a little bit but in the aviation sense and also national economy maybe improving under Trump. If you want to start flying, this is the excellent time to do it especially with fuel being 4 to 4.50 a gallon for avgas.

Brett McKay: Are you seeing more people get their private license? Since you’ve had it, have you seen more people enter into that domain?

Kenneth Royce: Statistically, it ‘s not happening. I see people getting into it because I’m at airports and I’ve talked to pilots. I can name half a dozen people who just got their license the past year but that’s only because I’m in that sphere. I think nationally, we have fewer pilots every year than the previous year. We’re trying to do a lot to reverse that. There’s a rusty pilot program.  A lot of people have their license but just not current. They haven’t flown for four years or 40 years. We’re trying to get them back into aviation. We’re also trying to entice the younger generation of the choice on aviation.

We’re doing our best and low fuel prices are helping because shen I started to learn how to fly, avgas was five and $6 a gallon under 4.50. The environment is good with low fuel prices and low prices of used airplanes so I’ve become an aviation missionary wherever I go.

Brett McKay: A guy’s best bet in trying to get started with this is just Google their local pilot school?

Kenneth Royce: Yeah. If you live anywhere near a large city, meaning 100,000 feet or more, there almost guarantee to be a certified flight instructor, if not several. Meet all of them because people are people are you’re only going to click with one versus another. Find out the reputation of these flight instructors versus each other. There’s very few bad ones and you’re likely not going to fall into a regrettable situation with whoever you choose.

I mean I called the first guy out of the book. I like the sound of his voice and nice older gentleman reminding me of my grandfather. I love the guy. He was just wonderful. Anyone can find a good instructor where they live. The main thing is just to get up in the air at least for an introductory flight, Brett and after that, if it’s in you, it will just take off.

Brett McKay: That’s awesome. Ken, this has been a great conversation. Where can people go to learn more about your work?

Kenneth Royce: I’ve got a website javelinpress.com or all my books are on Amazon of course and that’s probably the quicker way to get it especially for Kindle. All my stuff is on Kindle. Kenneth W. Royce at Amazon is probably the fastest way. I also have a new YouTube channel, Boston T. Party on YouTube. I’ve got some excerpts of my older speeches and I’ll be adding more content to that very soon.

Brett McKay: Awesome. Kenneth W. Royce. Thank you so much for your time. It’s been a pleasure.

Kenneth Royce: My pleasure too, Brett. Thanks for what you do. It’s a great site and a great mission you guys got so I’m happy to be a part of it.

Brett McKay: My guest is Kenneth W. Royce. He is the author of the books, Modules for Manhood. They’re available on Amazon.com. You also check out our show notes at aom.is/royce where you can find links to resources where you can delve deeper into this topic.

That wraps up another edition of the Art of Manliness podcast. For more manly tips and advice, make sure to check out the Art of Manliness website, artofmanliness.com. If you enjoy the podcast, have gotten something out of it over the years you’ve been listening to it, or months, I really appreciate it if you give us a review on iTunes or Stitcher. That helps out a lot. Thank you to everyone who has given us a review. I really appreciate that. As always, thank you for your continue support and until next time, this is Brett McKay telling you to stay manly.

Last updated: November 16, 2017

Continue the Conversation ...

Want to share your thoughts on this article? Send us a tweet or join the discussion on Facebook!