15 Life Rules For High Value Men


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There are some words in the modern lexicon that are tragically sparse. “Honor” being one of them. Dignity, respect, integrity, values — all have a vaguely vintage feel to them, as if they’re relics of generations gone by.

Men of honor, though — high value men who are driven to make a positive impact on the world and the people around them, still maintain a code of conduct for themselves, regardless of what modern society demands or recognizes.

They live by their own rules, because they’re not interested in doing what the masses do. They pledged a long time ago to rise above average and live in a way that far exceeds what “most people” are willing to commit to.

Let’s discuss some of the rules that high-value men set for themselves, and dedicate their life to living in alignment with.

1: Respect for all, unless they betray it.

Men who operate from a place of honor and dignity are driven by their own internal values. How they approach the world around them is a reflection of themselves, not of the people they’re encountering.

This means that their standard of conduct is consistent and authentic. Whether it be a doorman, a barista, a janitor, a shareholder, or a CEO, he sees them simply as another human being worthy of respect and therefore treats them as such.

Respect, however, is not unconditional. He reserves the right to pull back on such respect if a person proves to harm others, act in dishonorable ways, is discriminatory, or is abusive.

2: Always seek to add value.

In a world full of takers, the high value man is a giver.

He’s always looking for ways to enhance the lives of others, make a positive impact, brighten a day — even if it means the simple act of holding a door, giving a compliment, or returning a smile.

Far beyond that, though, is the local and global impact he seeks to have. Everyone has unique knowledge, skills, viewpoints, and ideas that can benefit others — that means you, too.

If, though, these ideas are kept hidden, there is no benefit to be had. They must be discussed, brought to the surface, collaborated upon, explored, and implemented.

In doing so, positive change can be made, whether it is in the life if one person, or millions.

“James, how do we do this?”

Engage with people. Ask questions. Find out what they need, what would benefit them, what they are missing or lacking in life. Offer help. Give feedback. Provide introductions. Or, sometimes, just be someone that people can talk to.

You don’t need to have any special skills, a lot of money, or a high-powered position to positively impact a life. You just need to pay closer attention than most people are willing to.

3: Hold standards for the treatment accepted in return.

What’s the difference between a high value man and a “people pleaser?”

If you were to only read points #1 and #2, you’d assume that this type of guy is always putting everyone before himself, even at his own detriment.

The opposite is true.

High value men show up for others with the default setting of love, respect, caring, and altruism. They do not, however, accept disrespect or sub-par treatment in return.

They hold standards and maintain boundaries for what and who they allow into their lives, and value their close relationships as a result.

They are discerning and selective.

They understand the difference between a friend, and an acquaintance.

They give their time, effort, and attention to where it is valued and appreciated, and move on from the areas where it is not.

People pleasers will give to others without limit or exception. High value men know their value and don’t waste it.

4: Prioritize mental, emotional, and physical health.

The high value man understands that in order to show up in the world at his best — he must be his best.

Emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually.

Maintaining an active lifestyle, a fitness routine, commitment to healthy eating, and mindful consumption of information will empower him to stay energized, connected, and driven.

If one (or many) of these areas get put on the back burner, his output will suffer as a result.

His energy levels will wane, he’ll become more irritable, he’ll feel less connected to loved ones, and even himself.

High value men must value themselves because they are the foundation that they build their life off of. Without a strong foundation to hold the weight, they’ll crumble underneath it.

5: Always be learning and growing.

Consider for a moment the information the average person absorbs on a regular basis, and what level of value can be found in it. What level of growth, learning, skill development, mental expansion, is achieved by the masses on a regular basis?

One may assume the collective answer to be “relatively low.”

The man who strives to do more and be more, though, must learn more.

He values new information, a deeper understanding of the world, a stronger and broader skillset that he can utilize to make a positive impact.

Stagnation is not an option. It is the antithesis of his life philosophy.

If this sounds too hardcore or relentless, I give you…

6: Balance.

If you’re a Formula 1 fan like I am, you enjoy watching drivers push the limits of some of the world’s highest performing four-wheeled machines, or even driving them yourself. The pinnacle of motorsport.

No matter how high-performance a machine is, though — it requires maintenance.

Things break. They need to be tweaked. Fuel runs out. Parts wear down. Reliability issues occur.

The point is — sometimes you just need a break.

Rest and recovery are essential prescriptions for even the world’s highest achievers. Human beings, we still all are.

Balance is key in all of our lives, as we must still have things that we enjoy doing, or not doing.

Il dolce far niente,” as my Italian ancestors would say — the sweetness of doing nothing.

What is, after all, the point of hard work if you’re not able to sit back and enjoy it now and then?

7: Pride in presentation.

The high value man is conscious about how he presents himself to the world.

Let’s be clear about this: I’m not talking about a certain clothing style, nor the price tag of the outfits, nor a “right” or “wrong” way of dressing.

Everyone has their own personal style, flare, vibe, and image.

The key is, though, to properly execute said image. To take pride in how one’s appearance is organized and feel it is an accurate representation of values and identity.

There’s a t-shirt and jeans, and then there’s a properly fitted t-shirt and jeans.

There’s a wrinkled and crumpled suit, or there’s a tailored suit.

A $200 off-the-rack suit that you spend $80 to tailor is going to look leagues better than a $2,000 suit that doesn’t fit you properly or looks like it was just taken out of a bag.

It’s not about cost, it’s about effort. Attention to detail. Coordination.

Proper grooming. The right hairstyle and facial hair (or lack thereof) for your face shape, career, or occasion.

Accessorizing. Be it a Rolex or a Timex, there are options to fit all budgets.

Whether simple or complex, it’s not the “what” of a look, but the “how” that makes it work (or not).

8: Effective communication.

You can’t bring value to those around you, nor can you build a life that fulfills you, if you’re unable to effectively communicate.

I personally believe this to be one of life’s greatest skills, which is perhaps why I write and speak professionally (albeit, far from perfect — see point #5).

A man of value, though, is always seeking better ways to express himself to others — and to listen to them in return.

He understands that proper communication can help to avoid or solve relationship problems, to close deals, to develop friendships, to build connections, to raise children, and perhaps most importantly — to understand himself.

Communication helps to build confidence because you can feel more deeply understood by the people around you. You’ll be more likely to speak up, ask questions, get what you need, and understand what others need in return.

9: Take risks, but don’t be stupid.

You don’t become the person you want to be, build the life you want to live, make the impact you strive to achieve…if you’re not willing to step outside of your comfort zone and take some damn risks.

Try some new things.

Be willing to fail.

Learn to dust yourself off and get back on the horse.

Understand that a speed bump and a road block are not the same thing.

High value men will put themselves out there, but they’re not reckless. They value themselves and their loved ones too much to be stupid, but they understand that some risk is required in order to level-up in life.

It takes courage, yes, but nothing great ever happened by staying inside of a comfort zone.

10: Maintain hobbies and interests.

You can’t be interesting if you’re not interested.

Interested in other people, in the world around you, in a hobby, a passion, a cause. Art, music, cars, aviation, watches, knitting, golf, sewing — whatever.

Life is not just about work. Hell, it’s not even just about your relationship or marriage (whoops, sorry…)

The truth is that none of us can live a fully and well-rounded life if we only focus on one area of it. We have to maintain our identity (more on this later), our interests, the things that set our soul on fire.

This is how we find leisure, balance, relaxation.

Or, it’s how we find excitement, adrenaline, adventure.

Or, both.

Don’t get so consumed by one area of life that you forget what makes you happy. I’ve coached far too many high achievers who couldn’t even tell me something they do for fun anymore. Sure, life is busy, but it doesn’t have to be boring.

11: Prioritize honesty and integrity.

Men simply cannot be considered “high value” if they can’t be trusted.

Trust is a product of consistent honesty.

It’s earned through showing that you’re reliable, can be counted on, and that your word means something to you.

Integrity is an integral part of this (I know that sounds redundant), because it’s not just about being honest when people are looking at you — but also when there’s nobody around to judge you.

Integrity is, as the old C.S. Lewis quote says: Doing what is right even when no one is looking.

When you set that standard and refuse to fall below it, every action you take is one of honor, dignity, and respect.

Not much is more “high value” than that.

12: Stay engaged socially.

Ah, and the introverts collectively cringe.

“James, are you saying we need to be extroverted to be ‘high value?’”

What I’m saying here is that we all have a need for human connection.

We are a few years past the initial bouts of Covid-19 now (which is insane to think about, isn’t it?). That time, though, really highlighted the harmful and sometimes tragic effects of isolation, no matter how introverted a person is.

I’m not telling you to run out to parties or huge events. Not telling you to go make friends with random strangers (though, that is sometimes fun). Not telling you to go do things you’re uncomfortable with.

I do, however, believe that having a few people who are close to us is a healthy and beneficial part of life.

It helps us feel connected, supported, and valued.

Connection to others is a human need, the only thing that varies is how much of it, or with how many people, each person individually wants or needs.

Whether you want one friend, or a hundred, social engagement keeps you moving, out in the world, and exploring new things.

13: Share the spotlight.

Being a high value man isn’t about taking center stage, hogging the applause, and demanding all of the credit.

It’s about sharing the love, giving accolades where they’re due, and making others feel seen, heard, and valued.

I don’t know about you, but the people that I love spending the most time around are the ones who are always seeking to recognize others. They’re genuinely interested, inquisitive, and highlight everyone else’s strengths.

They’re not the ones who are always trying to be the best, show off the most, or get all of the attention.

14: Handle your shit.

Here’s why I highly respect all of my private clients. It’s not because they’re partners in huge law firms. It’s not because they’re CEOs or high level executives. It’s not because they’re globetrotting jetsetters.

I mean…those things are great, don’t get me wrong…

But deep respect and admiration comes from the ability to be self-aware. To look inward and say “I want to be better.”

To take responsibility for your wellbeing, and take action to maximize it.

I’ve been coaching the world’s highest achievers for over a decade, and I can tell you with certainty that everyone has something they want to work on.

Be it their relationships, or confidence levels, clarity around a business decision, stronger connections with their families…whatever it is, it requires one to look in the mirror and say: “I can improve this.”

You can’t be a high value man — or person of any gender — if you don’t face and handle your own shit. It’ll always be there, gnawing at you, haunting you, lurking in the shadows, making you doubt yourself and holding you back.

Face it, overcome it, move forward. That is the only way.

15: Live in alignment with your TRUE identity and purpose.

You cannot build a fulfilling life if you don’t really know who you are.

For most people, the concept of identity or purpose is a foreign one.

They tie their identity to their career, or business, or relationship, or family.

An external factor that — if we’re being completely honest — could, at some point in time, go away. This leaves people feeling empty, lost, and confused about their fundamental existence.

Our identity must serve as our internal compass. It’s a collection of our values, beliefs, worldviews, and characteristics.

It defines us independently of any external factors. Yes, even if you’re a parent, or a spouse, or a CEO.

These things are valuable parts of your life, but they are not who you are as a person.

It takes time, honest introspection, and pushing through resistance in order to discover and define one’s true identity.

For many, particularly adults who’ve been going down a road for decades, it can be an uncomfortable question to ask. What if — after all of this — we don’t like the answers we find? What if we’re on the wrong path?

Because of this, many will completely avoid the question.

More, still, won’t even know it’s a question they should be asking.

Once they do, though…life begins to crystallize in front of them.

Decisions they’ve made in the past (good or bad) begin to make more sense.

The path into the future starts to clear.

They’re more certain about their relationships.

They are able to make stronger decisions because the values that guide them are more on the surface.

They become happier, more confident, and more fulfilled.

When you can wake up every single day and be certain about who you are and why you’re doing what you’re doing…you can go to bed every single day with fulfillment.

Feeling great about yourself when you’re by yourself.

And nothing, my friend, is more valuable than that.

Subscribe to my newsletter “The Next Level” for honest and uncensored advice normally reserved for private clients.

James Michael Sama is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and personal development coach.

Finding success in creating hundreds of viral articles and videos on building limitless confidence and healthier relationships, James has accumulated over 39 million visitors to his website and a collective social media following of over 400,000.

James speaks at live events and in the media across the U.S. and has become a go-to expert with outlets such as CNN, Bravo, The New York Post, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, CNBC, The Boston Globe, CBS, and more.

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