Almost every belief system and mythology has a similar story. Make one choice, the truth is revealed, you become stronger, wiser, and better with time. Make the other choice and your life continues the way it always has: comfortable, middling, passionless.
In the movie The Matrix, Neo is offered this choice and chooses to take the red pill and discover the truth about himself and the world he's been 'living' in. It's a path that's fraught with challenges, danger, confrontation with long held beliefs that push him to think and act beyond what he ever thought he was capable of.
In Christianity, this is explained through the narrow gate or the wide path.
In a book I'm currently reading called "Backbone: The Modern Man's Ultimate Guide to Purpose, Passion, and Power" by David Wagner, he uses an old Lakota tradition to teach this concept. The Lakota tradition speaks of two roads, the Red Road or the Black Road, and which road you choose is the difference between being a 'guy' and becoming the powerful and happy man you were meant to be.
Now, be sure this isn't the same thing as the bitter, angry, and misogynistic "Red Pill" bullshit of the Men's Rights movement. These aren't men seeking to become powerful and deeply happy, they're angry, bitter men, who wear the victim label as a badge of honor and seek to make the world better through subjugation to their own twisted ideology. These aren't men, but boys who have no self-awareness nor strength to fight their own personal demons, so they take out their frustrations on everyone and everything around them.
No, the choice between the red pill/red road/narrow gate and the blue pill/black road/wide path is the choice between being deeply happy and living a life that's full, rich, and satisfying or being 'meh', simply going through the motions because that's what you're 'supposed to do' and living a less than mediocre life full of regret and resentment.
One of my very first mentors used to say that if you're not growing, you're dying. And today too many men are dying living lives of 'supposed to's. They've grown up reading from a script of what a man is they wrote in their childhood and teenage years and then find themselves 20 years later looking for the pages of the script that reveal the happy ending.
Instead of becoming men, they've settled for becoming 'guys'... and becoming a guy isn't difficult. All you have to do is simply get older, pay your bills, and don't be an asshole.
Becoming a man, however, is a constant battle. It's a battle against expectations, against all the bullshit you've indoctrinated yourself with, against becoming 'fat, old and stupid'.
Becoming deeply happy, not just superficially happy, but deeply, down in your soul happy requires constant vigilance, strong self awareness, courage mixed with compassion, strength mixed with vulnerability, and a full-on commitment to be a little better tomorrow than you were today.
A powerful man is resilient when life throws challenges his way. He doesn't always win in the first round, but he refuses to remain prone when life knocks him down. He learns. He grows. He leads. He loves.
He's the guy that can take his last breath satisfied with how his life turned out with little or no regrets.
Choosing this path is a choice you must make every single day.
Like Luke Skywalker walking into the cave on Dagobah, you must have the courage to face yourself, your fears, the very ugliest parts of yourself without your usual modes of defense. It's messy, emotionally terrifying, and ego crushing.
It is a hard road and very few men choose to walk it.
Some men refuse to walk it.
Some men walk it and then quit when it gets difficult.
Some men avoid it out of fear.
Yet if you want that deep down, soul filling, every fiber of your being happiness, it is a road you must walk.
It doesn't mean you won't fuck up, fall down, or wander off it from time to time.
You will. That's guaranteed.
It just means when you do, you'll do what it takes to adjust your sails, get back on course, stand up and dust yourself off, or learn from your mistakes.
It ain't easy.
I know... I've wandered off the path a time or three.
Yet following the path to becoming a deeply happy, powerful man is more rewarding than any 'gift of feedback' your boss could ever give you.
So, which do you choose?
The red pill to becoming a deeply happy and powerful man or the blue pill to becoming simply fat, old, and stupid?
The choice is yours.