What happened to the concept of ‘being a man’? I think we tiptoe around the room of political correctness so much these days that we are afraid to say that anyone ‘should’ be or do anything specific, because it may make someone else feel left out.
My personal belief is that we can all live harmoniously by being the strongest, most evolved versions of ourselves – no matter what that means for each individual. And as a man who writes and speaks from the male perspective, I have noticed a sharp decline over the years in qualities that I think are important for men, as a whole, to cultivate.
There is not much about myself I consider being a ‘stereotypical’ guy. I don’t drink beer (hard liquor, please). I don’t care about sports, even though I always played them. And I like to think I have a relatively good sense of style.
But I do love fast cars, action movies, and trying to be like James Bond (Not just because we have the same name). I think the age-old obsession with James Bond comes from his diverse ability to do so many things, so well. He is suave, wears amazing suits and tuxedos, drives the best cars, and has the coolest gadgets. And, he dates beautiful women.
While many people usually fire back to me with the ‘womanizer’ argument against him, I do think it’s important to understand he could have some serious attachment issues from losing his parents as a child, and he actually has fallen in love in movies, only to be betrayed or lose the woman to the villain.
But, I digress…
The point of this article is that many of the things exemplified by characters like Bond (or insert cool movie/TV character of your choice), can be cultivated and developed over time to live a more well rounded and fulfilling life.
Here are five that I believe are important:
A man should make his own decisions.
We live in a society where every choice we make is affected by how other people are going to perceive it. Whether it’s a poll on your Instagram story or just asking the people around you for advice, I think we have become so nervous that someone isn’t going to like what we think – that we end up not thinking for ourselves at all.
Of course we should take advice from those more experienced and knowledgeable, but there is a big difference between obtaining new information in order to make up your own mind, and having someone else literally make a decision for you.
A man should research as much information as he needs in order to make a choice that he feels is right. This is the only way to develop a position on an issue that you believe in, because you’ll be able to defend all of the reasons why you made the choice. If you are simply a kite blowing in the wind, how will anyone (including yourself) know what you stand for?
A man should display courage.
I don’t care what anyone says about equality or demolishing gender roles, courage and the want to protect, are embedded in the DNA of males, regardless of species.
This is not to say that women need protecting, it is simply to say that a man naturally wants to provide it, whether or not it is required.
Courage doesn’t mean that you never get nervous. It doesn’t mean that you’re never afraid. It doesn’t mean that you have a bulletproof approach to every action you take. It just means that you proceed anyway even when you do feel these things.
Not to mention, protecting those you love, whether from physical or non-physical harm, requires the courage to do so.
A man should always strive to be a gentleman.
Every gentleman may be a man, but not every man is a gentleman.
Chivalry, manners, etiquette. All practices that have fallen by the wayside over the years, for one reason or another. From the moment I started writing over 5 years ago, I have been encouraging men to be more chivalrous towards not only women – but everyone they encounter.
Say what you will about Bond’s dating habits, but he stands up when a woman enters or leaves a room. When was the last time you saw the modern man do that?
Opening doors, pulling out chairs, walking on the street side of the sidewalk – all small acts of chivalry that are emblematic of a true gentleman who respects himself and those around him.
A man should be well-rounded in his talents.
Here’s the myth about talent: Either you have it, or you don’t. Bullshit! Absolute bullshit. Ask anyone who’s the greatest at what they do – Michael Phelps, Conor McGregor, Michael Jordan; They failed, and got back up, and failed again. We see the final results of decades of hard work alone in dark rooms and we call it ‘natural talent.’ Utter bollocks.
Whether it is learning a new language, developing a new skill, or reaching a new goal, you can literally choose whatever it is you want to do and then take action to actually do it. I believe a gentleman should be well-rounded in his knowledge and the topics he is versed on to speak about in a variety of social situations. I believe he should be confident in his abilities to assist someone in need, regardless of the task. I believe he should put in the time and effort to develop a well-rounded set of talents that allow him to lead a fulfilling life.
I have more recently really begun to educate myself on a variety of skills in a variety of areas, and I have never felt so excited about absorbing as much information as I can, in order to live a better and more productive life.
Your current skillset has already gotten you as far as it’s going to in life. If you want to do better, you’ve got to be better.
A man should exude confidence without arrogance.
Many people think arrogance is simply over-inflated confidence, when in reality just the opposite is true. Arrogance can easily be an overcompensation for lack of confidence, because someone is always trying to prove themselves, and pushes too far.
Confidence is developed through setting measurable goals for yourself (it can literally be something as small as waking up on time), and accomplishing these goals. What happens here is that you begin to build a positive reputation with yourself: If I say I’m going to do something, I do it.
Over time, you can set larger goals, continue to accomplish them, and so on. This begins to push your boundaries and eventually reach the point where you feel as though you can accomplish literally anything you set your mind to, because you have a track record to prove it.
Through this process, you also develop humbleness, because you don’t accomplish every goal the first time. So, you fail, learn about yourself, improve, and try again.
These reality checks allow you to understand that you are not invincible and nothing is ever perfect. So, you establish confidence, but also humility. Confidence, but without arrogance.
To earn the title of a “gentleman,” cultivate these 5 life skills, and you can never lose.
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