How to Design the Man Within - Johnny Elsasser

By Yuresh Shayzer
June 13, 2023

In today’s episode, our guest is a beautiful human being, Johnny Elsasser. Johnny has a crazy excellent story about his life being in Iraq protecting the American ambassador to Iraq. He has a lot which has never talked about. He has grown through the dark, finding the light times. He is the author of the book “Design the man within” which guides the man to realize that he is not alone in his journey full of struggles, feelings, and judgments to deserve the world.

(3:07) Why should I listen to you?

You should listen to me because I struggle just as any other man works at the end of the day, and I don’t want to hide that. The only difference is how I use many tools and get through the dark times quicker than I used to. Hopefully, in this conversation, I can give you some tools to help.

(3:40) Let’s unpack your framing of dark times. We all have perspectives relative to humans. What are the kinds of dark times you are referring to?

It’s always the moment when you are alone. Everything starts to close in, and you will be the harshest critic and the most judgemental person on the planet. It’s a dark time for me. It’s when we discover what can defeat us and put us in the dark. It can show us what keeps us away from our goals and targets. Dark times are what I look at myself.

(4:48) I didn’t realize how I felt about being out of it. Some people may not realize that they are in the dark. Do you mind sharing your dark times as awake up call?

Most people may not know that they are having a dark time in their lives. They’re just going through lives but don’t know what’s happening. When I was in special operations protecting the US ambassador to Iraq, I loved it. After I came home, I didn’t have the flag anymore, and I wasn’t representing the flag or the country. At that moment, I thought, “Dude, what are you doing?”. When I lost my purpose of serving overseas as a soldier, I felt I had no direction. What I was doing during those days was not filling me up, and that is when I started drinking a lot, not being the best version of myself. This situation led me to a bad relationship with my ex-wife, leading to a divorce, and at that time, I wasn’t living up to my full potential. You are going to be either a piece of crap or good. You need to make a choice. That is where I had an honest conversation and wanted to be a good person. 

Some people don’t know this. They keep doing the same, which is terrible in the long run. What do you think about navigating the mentality? Though I know what to do, I fear doing it.

This is like I was having a conversation with someone else. When you have that internal conversation, you can see the big picture, the big goal. And involved in this big picture, you can see all the steps to that picture. To the people who think that I am not going to do that since there is so much effort in every single step and too much involvement, what I need to say is to see the goal and start compartmentalizing everything. First, you need to get through the front door. You take what is in front of you. Just do one step at a time and keep going, and you will feel, “Oh, that’s not bad.” 

(13:40) For you, what do the steps look like? Once you go through a journey, you realize you have gone in the wrong direction. What is your say on this?

Internal confrontations regarding your ego and insecurities are essential. Remember that you are not victims. What happens outside of us are all our doings. The external outcomes are being received due to how we interact with the outside world. You should confront how I should balance myself and how to create myself as a man who can be dangerous and empathetic and move forward as a holistic version of what a good man should be. My internal conversations were, “Don’t ask the wrong question; otherwise, you will expose something strong.” You could call it a weakness, but I would call it an under-note. In this conversation, I need to be honest with my answer and the work necessary to correct that behavior or respond to what I need to be.

(19:11) The discomfort holds the path. I can develop by focusing on opening up for businesses and relationships. Is life that simple and easy?

I should mention this. We are overcomplicating and just being too dumb to quit. We have the fear that is stopping us from doing. Think about the worst thing if you fail or something wouldn’t go out well. The answer would be the current position you would be living in. That is what is killing me.

(21:47) you have done great things. What is the journey to writing your book?

It is a mysterious book. Military or paramilitary service is so rigid and kind of structure for you. Because of the responsibilities, there is some beauty in that. But after leaving that, people don’t know how to design the rest of their lives with the transition. I had to go through this process of losing my first wife from a failed marriage and not knowing who I was. Ultimately, I understood that I had the power to design the man who showed up in every conversation. With certain principles and foundations, highly curated traits were picked up for me. I created a man who is consistent with the things I put in my life, specially designed to be intentional. Then life became more accessible.

(24:51) Who is the perfect person to pick this up and read?

I had talked with elders in 70 and 80 s, but I failed because those men were spiritual and not connected to the 97% of everyday men. I didn’t want to forget this time because we have a quickly evolving society, and we continue to hold back the perceptions of masculinity that men should be. We should develop ourselves to complement how the organization will create a robust and influential figure that holds the authority to avoid chaos in the world. We need good men, and this book is for everyday men.

(32:51) Through designing the man, can someone become a protector of his wife, and kids and enjoy his life 

What you create in this design is adaptability. We are adaptable and robust enough in our foundation and always try to overcome when things get chaotic and complex. When it comes to designing men, adaptability gives you to experience life with confidence. You have to choose it. Being able to adaptable will create an environment to be with your family being the fun-loving dad and the romantic husband.

(34:53) Then you draw these in your life that they can be with you safely?

Yeah, exactly. Not only them but also the people around the kids and wife get to experience life differently. 

(41:15) Where should I send the people to buy this book?

Send them over to design the men You can purchase them from Amazon and for presale. We have a free eBook at 99 cents.

(42:09) What promise did god or the creator make to the world when he created you?

I think they made a man who was too dumb to quit could show the world that he can influence through perseverance, development, growth, and authenticity. So that was what they made when they put me in this life.

Key Quotes 

(10:03-10:09) When you have the internal conversation, you see the big picture, the big goal.

(10:27-10:33) See the goal of what you are looking at and then just categorize everything.

(10:38-10:41) You take what is in front of you.

(11:43-11:45) Just do one step and keep going.

(15:06-15:10) The external outcomes are being received due to how we interact with the outside world.


How to connect with Johnny Elsasser

Facebook: The art of masculinity 

Instagram: johnny.elsasser 


Email: [email protected]




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